[private] Utila has always had its own unique history and draw to its inhabitants. I shared a laugh a few decades back with some of the old timers about how they thought it was something in the water. The truth is this little rock has a unique way of drawing those of us born here back home no matter what part of the world in which we travel or live. I returned home in 2002 to find the island had changed in many ways, some good and some not so good. All in all we have not seen the explosive growth of Roatan. We have a unique tourist base which centers around the so-called “backpacker.”
We do not draw the elite tourist crowd, but what we do have has been carved out over the years by the dive centers. Some businesses complain about the centers hording all the tourists but the truth is they have carved out their little notch in the tourist industry. We need to use this as a base and grow from there rather than voice complaints about how someone is able to do something better. Since my return home, I have voiced my opinion on how we need to find a way to get the Honduras Department of Tourism behind us to locate funds to develop a larger public beach. We have a public beach which cannot handle the flow of tourists during the Semana Santa week. We have the environment that tourists want to enjoy, but we lack the right form of infrastructure to support such tourism.
Islanders have always been known to make things happen when the tide has been against them. We need to pull together to find the solution we all want and need. We have what they want but how do we present ourselves? The negative publicity given to us lately will pass with time if we keep pushing in the right direction. Nothing beats a failure better than a success. We cannot use the “shot gun effect” in this situation. Rather, we need to regroup and target one area at a time until we have what we want. Each small success will lead to a bigger success, but we have to follow through with the things we begin.
We celebrate our Independence Day in ways not celebrated on the mainland. We have a place where people feel safe walking the streets at any hour of the day or night. We do what we do best and if something does not work we set it aside as a lesson learned and move on. We have always been a people to find a way to move forward to something more constructive. This is our heritage and we need to exploit it more for our advantage. We need put our best forward, one thing at a time, in a way our forefathers would have done. We are not the leaders of the Bay Islands, but in many ways we represent the leadership qualities of the islands. [/private]