Cartagena’s mayor and locals call signs for the newly inaugurated double decker tourism bus “illegal” but the bus company’s president says they are legal and powerful families with interests in tourism are working against the international tourism company, reported local newspaper El Heraldo Thursday.
City Sightseeing, one of the largest multinational guided tour companies, recently installed bus signs containing route maps, advertisements, and itineraries at 12 bus stops in Cartagena.
While some tourists find the signs informative, locals see them as as obstructive and illegal.
Cartagena’s mayor said the signs are illegal because the necessary permits to place the signs in public space were not requested through the District Planning offices.
But the President of City Sightseeing, German Osorio, said that the installation of the signs at bus stops is in fact legal.
According to the bus company’s president, discussions with the Office of Urban Planning and Control took place a year and a half before the signs were installed in order to ensure that all necessary requirements were met.
“The Office of Urban Planning and Control informed us that we were given concessions for a period of 20 years by OPE, Outdoor Advertising…We went to OPE and after submitting the project, they liked it, especially the signs, because its more than just advertising for us, it is the city’s tourist information,” Osorio said.
Without calling names, Osoria said the controversy was masterminded by families who have managed parts of the city’s tourism industry and are pushing the local government to act against the newly arrived international tourism service provider.
The bus project in Cartagena currently has two double-decker buses, and three additional smaller feeder buses.
Passengers on the buses can visit 12 city tourist destinations, including the Muelle de los Pegasos, the fort of San Felipe Barajas, the fort of San Sebastion del Pastelillo and the Casa de Rafael Nuñez.