Friday, July 11, 2008

“The Friendliest Town”

It has been said that San Pedro is a very warm and hospitable place and one of the main reasons why tourists fall in love with us. Though this might be true, is that the only criteria to make a place friendly? Here is what has been found out to make a place “City Friendly”.

A lot of people look for security and it does not mean the high presence of policemen and soldiers all over the place. Rather, it means that they feel safe to walk about the place without being accosted by some thief, rapist, drug pusher or any harasser for that matter.

Visitors and people in general like a place that is pedestrian and traffic friendly. One feels comfortable when pedestrians are friendly, greet you, smile with you or assist you in any form. Wouldn’t you be happy if someone assists you to change your flat tire or drag your golf car if you run into motor or engine problems? Drivers and riders can also be courteous and give people on foot the right of way. Always let tourists pass first.

A place is considered “City Friendly” when there are many parks and public places where they can spend some time simply relaxing. In the case of San Pedro, public beaches, shopping plazas, and sporting areas would add to our “City Friendliness”.

Tourists, especially, want some big fun public event, to look forward to, in our case, Costa Maya, Carnival, Lobster Festival, etc. These are great events, but there could be more to boost the island. Tourists also like market areas, not necessarily for food and vegetables but for souvenirs, gifts, paintings, crafts, and cheap deals like you would find at a flea market.

Finally a place is considered friendly if there are enough hotel rooms to welcome visitors, enough bars to have a robust happy hour, and budget friendly stores and restaurants where they are willing to spend without tightening on their wallets or purses. Let us not forget that travelers like a place that has a “friendly airport” and customs officials that are courteous and accommodating.

When tourists return home and can’t stop talking about their visit to San Pedro, then you know that they have characterized us as “City Friendly, well, “Town Friendly’. Or “The friendliest little town in the Caribbean” – La Isla Bonita!

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