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09 / Feb / 2005  


The Tourism Ministry has announced that thanks to the promotional campaigns launched by the Honduran government in cooperation with local municipal governments and the private sector, 2004 was a record year for tourist visits in Honduras. For the first time in history the country welcomed more than a million visitors --1,056,642 to be exact, which in financial terms calculates to nearly $410 million for the Honduran economy.Tourism – known as the “industry without smokestacks” -- is now the country’s third largest source of foreign revenue after family remittances and maquila manufacturing.

The following figures have been compiled by the Honduran Department of Immigration, the National Statistics Institute and the Ministry of Tourism.

The following chart shows figures since 2001 and includes projections for 2005.

SOURCE: Honduran Institute of Tourism Statistics Department

 TOURIST: A temporary visitor staying at least 24 hours and less than one year at a destination other than his or her place of residence or habitual surroundings.


 VISITOR: An individual staying less than 24 hours at a destination (in the same country or abroad without spending the night, and returning to his or her place of residence within this periodo f time.Visitors are als called EXCURSIONISTS.

SOURCE: World Tourism Organization

19% increase in visitors and 10% increase in tourists in 2004

Tourism data show that between January and December of last year 672,103 tourists arrived in Honduras by air and by land.Their average stay was 9.8 nights and they spent an average of US$63.4 per day.

Of these tourists, 30% were from North America, 58% from Central America, 7% from Europe and 5% from the rest of the world.

Cruise visitors up 60% in 2004

According to Tourism Minister Thierry de Pierrefeuthe historic milestone of Honduras’ one millionth visitor in a single year was due largely to the growing popularity of Roatan for cruise ship stopovers.

This figure is significant considering that the average growth rate for cruises in the Caribbean is just 3% annually.Of the 4.5 million cruise passengers who sailed the Caribbean in 2004, 6% visited Roatan.

Cruise visitors spend an average of US$54 during their stay.This means an estimated $13.9 million annually for the Roatan economy, among port fees, municipal taxes and tourist and crew spending.Of this total, 75% is spent on tours, souvenirs and food.

In 2004, Roatan welcomed 165 cruise ships with a total of 258,497 passengers and 110,272 crew members.The most common carriers arriving in Roatan are Norwegian Cruise Lines, Carnival Cruise Lines and Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines.

In 2005 another 165 cruise ships are expected to travel to Roatan.They will be larger vessels, however, and are expected to bring in an estimated 280,000 passengers.

Local Tourism

Figures taken from the 2004 Semana Santa holiday (Easter week) indicate increasing growth in local tourism.

During last year’s Semana Santa holiday, hotel occupancy rates topped 94% nationwide and 97% in the BayIslands.

The following charts sumaries tourism figures for the 2004 Easter season.

  • Total Visitors 1,664,770
  • Local Tourism1,594,196
  • International Tourism70,574
  • Hotel Occupancy94%
  • Flight Arrivals37,175
  • Museum and Park Admissions58,730
  • Cruise Visitors10,012

SOURCE: Honduran Institute of Tourism Statistics Department

Top Destinations

According to the BIMSA company, the top tourist destinations in Honduras are La Ceiba, Copan Ruins, Tegucigalpa, Tela and Roatan.

Other destinations like LakeYojoa and San Pedro Sula are also popular destinations while Santa Rosa de Copan, Santa Barbara and towns along the Lenca Route are emerging as tourists discover their colonial and cultural attractions.

SOURCE: BIMSA – “Study of the Satisfaction of Tourists Visiting Central America” -- 2004

Level of Tourist Satisfaction

According to a study of tourist satisfaction levels in 2004, 95% of tourists consider Honduras a very attractive destination and would recommend it to other travelers.The same study shows that 96.5% of tourists would be interested in returning to Honduras for another visit.

SOURCE: BIMSA – “Study of the Satisfaction of Tourists Visiting Central America” -- 2004

Why do tourists recommend us?

According to the BIMSA survey of the reasons that tourists recommend Honduras, 42.8% of those surveyed consider Honduras to be a quality tourist destination, 35.2% like the variety of nature activities (beach, nature, etc) and 15.5% enjoyed the culture and hospitality of the people.

SOURCE: BIMSA – “Study of the Satisfaction of Tourists Visiting Central America” -- 2004

New Jobs

The arrival of more visitors, the support that the government has given to the tourism sector and increasing investment in tourism have had a positive impact on the economy.The tourism sector creates an average of 7,500 new jobs annually, helping the sector to distribute its wealth evenly, especially in host communities.


Tourism Sector has a definite imact on foreign revenues

Tourism is now the country’s second largest source of foreign revenue, boasting a 10% growth rate for the 2003-2004 period alone.It is predicted that in 2005 the sector will bring in more than $45 million.


In conclusion, 2005 is expected to be another year of growth for the tourism sector, as new projects using public funding help to develop and diversify competitive tourism options with high aggregated value.

Some of the projects slated to begin in 2005 are:

  • Continued promotion of the country’s first filly planned center – the LOS MICOS BEACH GOLF & RESORT project in TelaBay.
  • A cruise ship dock on the Atlantic coast
  • A landing strip in Rio Amarillo near Copan.
  • Renovation of the runway and terminal at the Guanaja airport
  • Renovation of Roatan’s cruise ship dock

These projects are part of the National Sustainable Tourism Strategy, which has been designed based on geotourism projections and encourages direct participation in all of the country’s 7 tourism regions.

These and other initiatives serve as a solid foundation from which to achieve the country’s tourism development goals.With a spirit of enthusiasm the people of Honduras are ready to make tourism EVERYBODY’S BUSINESS.

For more information visit our web site: www.letsgohonduras.com


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