August 18th, 2014 (InsideCostaRica.com) Unemployment, poverty, and failing water infrastructure combined with record drought are the top problems facing Costa Rica’s Guanacaste province, Luis Diego Hidalgo, president of the Guanacaste Chamber of Tourism (Caturgua) told the Legislative Assembly’s Committee on Tourism on Thursday.
Hidalgo said the problems have roots going all the way back to the 1990’s.
“We have circumstances that make us vulnerable,” Hidalgo said. “[Guanacaste] has given much to the country but the province hasn’t seen any returns.”
According to a recent report, unemployment in Guanacaste is 2% higher than the national average, while 13% of Guanacaste households live in poverty.
Caturgua representative, Aileen Ocampo, said the situation highlights a lack of public policy for the province, and that the growth of private tourism enterprises in the province have not cured the complex issues facing Guanacaste.
“…We have seen large scale development of hotels that have come to the area, however it is sad to say that our province continues to face complex issues such as unemployment, education, extreme poverty, and malnutrition, which make people ask why no one gives us a hand,” Ocampo said.
Committee members on Thursday pledged to draft a series of policies aimed at improving conditions in the province.
A recent estimate said this year’s record drought has already cost the province at least $38 million losses.