By Néstor Alí Gómez
Businesses in San Juan del Sur gave positive feedback to the strategy of Plan Verano 2018, which was developed throughout the entire Holy Week by the Municipal Committee for Disaster Prevention; COMUPRED.
The strategy was aimed at providing mobility, security, cleanliness and other important requirements to the thousands of holidaymakers who chose to come and enjoy their vacation in San Juan del Sur.
Eduardo Holmann, Coordinator of the San Juan del Sur Chapter of the National Chamber of Tourism of Nicaragua (CANATUR), said that the mobility issues were “excellent, (the use of) the road routes that were designed and supported by CANATUR decongested the traffic. Also, the (internal) routes of San Juan del Sur played their part. The detour of buses before La Cuesta was an excellent idea, as was the location of the parking lot outside of the urban area.”
Holmann also highlighted the work of the National Police when it comes to guaranteeing movement through the city by proper road planning. “The National Police played an important role (keeping order on the streets), in the control of crime and the control of drivers, etc.”
The business representative also acknowledged the work done by the municipal mayor, “the work of the mayor, council and its workers was excellent. I made a tour of San Juan del Sur and business, and early (Monday), the firefighters and municipal staff flushed the streets and cleaned things up. Everything is clean today, Monday”, said Holmann.
For his part, Carlos Rivas, a local businessman, also commented in reference to the results of the Summer Plan 2018, said he felt “notable improvements in relation to last year. The chaos we had last Easter was not felt this time. The road order, the buses going to other beaches or parked outside, cars being parked on the right side and a tow truck (flatbed) and vehicle pound maintained order in the streets”, he said. In reference to the actions of the National Police, Rivas commented that “there was good management.”
Aspects to be Improved
However; local businesses consider that there are still aspects that should be improved for the next summer plan (Easter Week). “(You must) install attractive and aesthetic kiosks to temporarily locate the street vendors. Take up a toll so that the costs do not affect the ordinary budget of investment and current expenses for the local council,” recommended Carlos Rivas.
Eduardo Holmann does not think it’s correct to allow street vendors (without order or restrictions). “We have to limit them and order them in a place that will clear the way and maintain access to already established businesses. Also I think there must be only one command, and this corresponds to the mayor’s office”. He added “In muddied waters, fishermen profit,” he said.
Sales This Easter
With regard to the behavior of sales this Easter season, Holmann explained that the businesses along the coast had more sales than last year, except for the hotels and hostels. “The hotels and hostels businesses report a considerable drop in their sales. This is likely due to the rental of houses by Airbnb and other companies dedicated to that business and who are a measureable competition to the hotels and hostels,” he said.
In the case of the bar and restaurant businesses, “it was reported that there was an increase in sales compared to last year, up to 30-40% more,” although Holmann believes that was not the case at all, since this depended on the location of the establishments, “some businesses were affected by the street vendors that were placed where they wanted, thus affecting access to established businesses.”
He also noted that this year there were more visitors to San Juan del Sur from Costa Rica and El Salvador. “We had more people here with greater purchasing power.” he said.
The leader of CANATUR in the city believes that “a good decision was not to allow the big concerts of Chamán and Blü. This allowed the established locations in San Juan del Sur to be successful.” In the past many people came from outside to these concerts and packed the town without any other benefit to local businesses.” he said.
Carlos Rivas said that this year local businesses sold more than last year and he saw much more organized street vendors.