Tourism builds on Utila

February 1st, 2010
by Patrick Flynn

[private] v8-2-Utila PerspectiveThe New Year is here and Utila got a shot of adrenalin with the tourists returning for New Years week. It was a welcome change for many merchants, hotels, bars, and restaurants. We all hope this is a sign of things to come. In many ways we need to be doing things to attract the tourists we want to our island and I believe we are doing so with the newly formed chapter of the Chamber of Tourism. Tourism means we as Utilans and Islanders in general have to pay attention to the things which attract and detract from our tourism base.

Everyone is becoming more conscious of the environment all around us. In the past only those referred to “Geeks”, or any other name thrown upon them were involved with what is now referred to as Green Cars. The truth is we all have to do our share to preserve what we have for our future generations. Here on Utila we have the opportunity to put our best foot forward with one simple idea. In the past the number of vehicles was limited and permits had to be obtained and presented to the Port Captain before a vehicle was allowed to be brought to Utila. Too often, vehicles on their last leg before the scrap pile were the norm being brought to Utila. I am glad to see new vehicles are now becoming the norm.

One idea would be for Utila to enact an ordinance forbidding the use of 2 cycle vehicles. We have all followed one of these scooters which appear to be fogging for mosquitoes. It is not something we should be proud to show to our tourists which are our primary source of income here and on the entire Bay Islands. These 2 cycle vehicles do not add to our tranquility but rather reminds everyone that as a people we are not conscious of what is happening to our environment. The idea is a sound one but how can we make it practical? Once the ordnance is put into place a period of grace, say 12 months, will be needed to give the owners of such vehicles time to sell or dispose of them properly. Once the ordinance is in place no other 2 cycle vehicles will be allowed to enter the island.

Some might say if we sell the units off to another area then we are basically passing the buck or our problems off to someone else. It is said one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. It is possible others might see what we are doing and understand the whys and perhaps join into our plan. This is but one sound and workable plan and something we can begin to sink our teeth into right now with little cost if any. Implementing the ordinance will require those in positions of authority to be willing to see what is best for us all in the future and not just today. It will not be popular today with those owning 2 cycle vehicles but in time it will be looked upon as Utila taking a step in the right direction to protect our environment. This is but one step and keep in mind there are many 2 cycle outboards which are affecting our reefs. This is another area we can begin to takes steps to protect our environment as many other countries have done in the past and will continue to do in the future. Utila can do this now and be looked upon as a leader rather than a follower. We have to think green because our environment on and around the island depends on us preserving it!

This is but one simple idea and I am sure our readers have many more themselves. The more we allow ourselves the flexibility of looking into possibilities the more we will find solutions. We shoot for the stars and if we end up on the moon so be it. At least the journey took us somewhere. Ideas presented by those around us should be looked upon and studied. My Father had a simple saying, “No man knows it all or has all the answers nor can they ever expect to have them all in this lifetime.” [/private]

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