SINCE 1986, the Liberian Chamber of Tourism (CALITUR) has worked to promote the development of tourism-related businesses in the city of Liberia and throughout the province of Guanacaste. “In general terms, the chamber looks to bring tourists closer to tourism businesses,” said Norma Tinoco, vice-president of the chamber.
In addition to promoting regional tourism, CALITUR also is dedicated to studying the problems that affect the sector as a whole, with the goal of generating permanent solutions. The chamber aims to bring local tourism companies and commercial establishments closer together by providing them with opportunities to network.
“The chamber seeks to foster an open dialogue, where tourism providers can exchange experiences and information and learn from one another,” Tinoco explained. In general terms, the chamber seeks to serve as a permanent link between Guanacaste tourism businesses and the municipal and national governments. The chamber also hopes to ensure its members follow sustainable environmental practices.
THE chamber has more than 60 members involved in all types of tourism-related activities. Members include hotels such as Hotel Buena Vista Lodge, Rincón de la Vieja Lodge, Hotel Borinquen and Hotel El Bramadero, the Ecodesarrollo Papagayo tourism development complex and typical Guanacaste-style ranches, such as Costumbres y Tradiciones La Chácara and El Chapernal.
Additional members include National Car Rental, Alamo Rent-a-Car, Congo Trail Canopy Tour, Sendero Los Tres Monos, TQ3 Travel Solutions, Do It Center construction and building supplies, Souvenir Mundo el Recuerdo, the Liberia Airport Taxi Drivers’ Association and law firms Bufete Paniagua and BLP Abogados.
Guanacaste’s recent tourism-related growth and development and Liberia’s rapid transformation from a quiet small town to the region’s commercial hub have kept CALITUR busy and have forced it to intensify its efforts to promote the region.
“With that goal in mind, the chamber has opened a tourism information stand at the LiberiaAirport. In the short run, we plan to open additional information stands, including some in Liberia,” Tinoco explained.
“As part of that same effort, CALITUR plans to begin publishing a tourism magazine that will be given out on planes coming to Liberia,” he explained. “We also plan to create a Web site with tourism information on the region that will make it possible for tourists to get information on Guanacaste from their homes.”
TINOCO is confident Liberia will continue to grow. In her opinion, there is no reason for the current boom to end.
“Traditionally, excellent weather and beaches, mountain ranges and fantastic volcanoes have made Guanacaste a preferred tourism destination,” she explained.
“Today, the region has added high-quality hotels, marinas, golf courses, a shopping center with movie theaters, multinational chain fast-food restaurants, which have caste into the jewel of Central American tourism.”
However, to ensure the growth continues, she considers it essential for the government and the private sector to begin working closer together.
“THE area’s recent development givesus hope,” Tinoco explained. “The government, municipal as well as central, needs to establish the infrastructure – highways, streets, aqueducts, education, ports, airports – and the private sector must take risks to develop tourism activities – restaurants, bars, shops, coffee shops, book stores and special events.”
The chamber’s m embership is open toall tourism-related businesses operating in Guanacaste.
For more info, e-mail Norma Tinoco at [email protected].