East Enders Form New Business Group
Tourism investors on Roatan’s East End have recently come together to discuss ways to collectively promote their businesses through the East End Business Group.
“It’s all about the free exchange of information and ways to develop our business interests down here,” said Bill Engel, one of the founders of the group who is building a small lodge and restaurant near Camp Bay to be called the Lost Moose Guesthouse.
Other founding members of the group are the Paya Bay resort, Marble Hill Farms, Jamie Epstein, who just bought the Camp Bay Adventure Lodge, Timothy Bodden of the Morning Breeze Bed & Breakfast in Diamond Rock and Andrew Flood, who is building a guesthouse at Punta Blanca.
Roatan’s East End communities contain some of the island’s best and most unspoiled natural and cultural attractions (click here for related post). However, the very remoteness and splendid isolation that has allowed them to preserve those attractive features presents the biggest challenge to tourist-oriented businesses there. They are not easy to get to. Many locales have no paved road access, and some customers have been held up in the recent past on the lightly traveled backroads.
Engel stressed that the new group would not be a security forum. But he said the group’s efforts to generate more business, facilitate access and increase traffic into the area would have the side benefit of reducing crime.
For example, Engel said the group planned to establish an East End express bus service that will shuttle people to and among the participating businesses, so that “people can come down here without worrying about being robbed on a scooter.”
The shuttle could also be used for bar crawls, as well as for a charity scavenger hunt, such as the one Mark Flanagan of SOL organized a couple years ago that the new group hopes to reprise.
“If there are more people on the road, the safety issue will go away,” Engel said. “A lot of the break-ins are occuring because places are not occupied.”
Engel said the group planned to put out a photo calendar to raise money for its activities. [/private]