Posted: Tuesday, May 24, 2022. 5:26 pm CST.
By Aaron Humes: An online media report suggests residents of San Pedro Town, Ambergris Caye, are “agitated” that the Belize International Music and Food Festival sponsored by the Belize Tourism Board (BTB) has taken over the traditional date of the International Costa Maya Festival in the last week of July/first week of August.
The International Costa Maya Festival, originally known as the San Pedro Sea and Air Festival, was organized by island stakeholders in order to attract tourists to the island during the lowest point of the slow season. One stakeholder is quoted as saying that the government should perhaps have sought to partner with the Costa Maya Committee to underwrite the costs of holding that event, or simply picked another date.
However, we have been made to understand that the San Pedro Town Council, which took over from the original organizers of the festival in 2019, has made the decision to concentrate on the Dia de San Pedro activities this year, and bring back the Costa Maya next year, leaving an open date that was filled by the International Music and Food Festival.
An original organizer of the Costa Maya confirmed the above details with us this evening but declined further comment.
We were unable to reach the Town Council as their offices had apparently closed for the day when we called. But last week, Mayor Gualberto Nunez told Channel 5 News that the Council should not be blamed for the Costa Maya not returning this year: “It was never the Council that spearheaded the Costa Maya Festival. It was a private committee, which I have utmost respect [for]. They had it for many years – I think it was over thirty years that they planned the Costa Maya and it was members of both parties. Nobody from the Costa Maya Committee or the previous committee has ever reached out to us that they want to continue with the festival. There hasn’t been any sort of communication [on] their part. So, I don’t know why there is this allegation that we don’t want to do the Costa Maya Festival.”
He confirmed that the Council will support the BTB’s event, to be held at the Louis Sylvestre Sporting Complex in downtown (usually known as the Sacachispas Field to San Pedranos), and organize Dia de San Pedro and September Celebrations activities during the annual “slow season” for tourism on the island, which runs from July through October.
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