Sunday, February 27, 2011

Decline in Tourism to Tikal

This article from the Prensa Libre in Guatemala indicates that tourism to Tikal has declined for the fifth year in a row. Part of the decline could be blamed on the volcano/hurricane double whammy that hit Guatemala City in late May of 2010. I visited Tikal during this time and there was practically not a single other soul in the park at that time, when normally there would be many hundreds of visitors every day. The general decline in tourism following the 2008 economic crash could not have helped either, but if this is the fifth straight year of declining number of visitors this does not explain the general trend. The article suggests a lack of air transport may be the biggest reason, but I am skeptical. There are daily flights to Flores from Guatemala City and relatively easy transport from Belize. Guatemala would do well to improve the road between Flores and Melchor de Mencos, however, and escalating violence between authorities and drug gangs does not help tourism. The forthcoming years will be interesting ones in terms of Guatemala's ability to harness this lucrative source of income.

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