Wednesday, January 21, 2009

HMS Queen Victoria Docks in Puerto Quetzal

The HMS Queen Victoria, carrying 1,785 passengers docked in Puerto Quetzal today. The Queen Victoria is one of the largest and most luxurious ships in the world. It's not unusual for cruise ships to visit Puerto Quetzal at this time of year. The cruise ship season ends in May. After departing Guatemala the Queen Victoria will head for Puerto San Lucas, México and will finally Los Angeles, in the United States.

The Queen Victoria displaces 90,000 tons, is 294 meters in length, and is 15 stories tall. It has a swimming pool, a main dining room / restaurant, 24 secondary restaurants, and a small shopping mall.

Inguat to Increase Promotion of Tourism

The Instituto Guatemalteco de Turismo, Inguat, plans to spend Q19.7 million more in 2009 than was spent in 2008. This is an increase of 28.6 percent and will total Q88.5 million. By way of comparison, Costa Rica and Panama each spend about US $20 million and Mexico spends about US $170 million on promotion of tourism.

The Inguat budget for this year shows the money will be spent as follows: 45 percent for promotion of tourism, 12 percent for development of tourism related products, and 43 percent for operating costs. But Inguat has a goal of reducing operating costs to 30 percent of budget and spending 70 percent on promotion.

The primary countries that will be targeted for promotion are the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Central America, with lesser focus on South America and Europe.

Wind Power in Santa María de Jesús

The town of Santa María de Jesús in Sacatepéquez (near Antigua) is proposing to install wind generators that take advantage of the strong winds that occur on the slopes of Volcán de Agua. The idea is to use the power to reduce or eliminate the cost of pumping water for the town. Right now the town pays about Q300,000 a month for electricity to pump water.

The current plan involves the installation of 10 wind generators that would generate enough power to more than satisfy the water requirements of Santa María de Jesús and the extra water could be sold to surrounding aldeas. The plan also includes construction of an ecological park.

The first phase of the project is receiving assistance from the Japanese and the Banco Centroamericano de Integración Económica.

Four Suspected Robbers Beaten in El Estor

Four suspected robbers were detained and beaten by citizens in the town town of Chichipate, El Estor, Izabal after being accused of assaulting several passengers of a microbus. The citizens accused the suspects of robbing money and cellular phones from the passengers. Apparently one of the victims called his family who aroused the citizenry, who then chased the thugs and captured them. They were then taken to Chichipate where they were beaten and detained. The PNC negotiated with the citizens and the suspects were turned over to police.