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Oct 24, 2000

Tourism Minister surveys damage

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The news tonight once again focuses on the hurricane ravaged island communities of San Pedro and Caye Caulker. A story later in this broadcast deals with government’s decision to make available up to three hundred prefabricated houses, which were originally earmarked for the new satellite town at La Democracia. And at the same time that individuals work at rebuilding their home life, an assessment is being made of the island’s economic life. And for San Pedro and Caye Caulker that means tourism. Minister Mark Espat, having just returned from successful meetings with key travel industry personnel in New York, took a personal look at the rebuilding of hotels and related facilities on the two cayes. The picture he got was upbeat.

Mark Espat, Minister of Tourism

“My visit today is really to see what progress has been made so that when I speak with the travel media, I can speak to them with confidence that yes I have visited this property, it is up and running. Yes the utilities are being put in and certainly as we have said before, by Thanksgiving of this year we expect that the majority of the properties in San Pedro and some here in Caye Caulker will be operational and welcoming visitors.”

According to figures released by the Belize Tourism Board, tourists arrivals continued their upward trend although at a slower rate of increase than earlier in the year. September arrivals by air and land rose six point four percent over 1999 and for the first nine months of the year totaled just over one hundred and fifty-five thousand, a gain of eleven point two percent. Even with the slowdown caused by Hurricane Keith it is expected that 2000 will still be a record year with arrivals inching close to the magic number of two hundred thousand visitors.

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