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01/ July / 2005  

Honduras receives $35 million loan from IDB for National

Honduras receives $35 million loan from IDB for National The Honduran government and the Interamerican Development Bank (IDB) signed an agreement for a $35 million loan to be used to promote tourism in Honduras.

Obtaining approval for the funding has been a top priority for the administration of President Ricardo Maduro and his Tourism Minister Thierry de Pierrefeu.

The funding will be managed and executed by the Ministry of Tourism and the Honduran Institute of Tourism and channeled into the National Sustainable Tourism Project.

President Maduro was the Witness of Honor at the signing of the agreement, which will provide financial support for additional tourism initiatives as well, including the Tela Bay Project, Mundo Maya Sustainable Tourism projects and the Tourism Promotion Fund.

A portion of the funds will also go to public works projects designed to support the growing flow of tourists to Honduras, and to the development of models for the responsible management of social and environmental impact. Another area that will benefit from the loan is private investment, with programs to encourage the creation of locally-owned micro, small and mid-scale businesses in the tourism sector.

The initiative is designed to consolidate and diversify the country’s supply of tourism products and services and to improve Honduras’ position as a destination on local and foreign tourism markets. Initial efforts are focusing on areas with the highest tourism potential in order to bring a trickle-down effect to the rest of the country over time.

In Western Honduras the funding will cover projects such as the excavation and restoration of the Rio Amarillo archaeological site in Santa Rita, Copan. Public works projects in the area will include an access road, potable water system and basic sanitary systems, as well as small business promotion programs.

Along the Atlantic coast – a sun and beach destination which draws the largest share of tourists to Honduras – the funding will help support a plan for the public use and environmental management of some 100 kilometers of Caribbean coastline between the cities of Tela and Omoa. There are also plans to restore the historic Fort of San Fernando de Omoa.

Areas along the Atlantic coast will be zoned for proper public use. Additional projects will improve the access and environmental quality of beaches in Tela and the Garifuna communities of Tornabe and San Juan.

A center for the promotion of scientific, academic, volunteer and educational tourism (known by the English initials as SAVE tourism) will be built at Pico Bonito National Park and managed by a special fund. It will be designed to lodge tourists who come to Honduras to do scientific, academic, volunteer or educational work.

The program will also build visitor centers in three protected areas near Tela Bay: Jeannette Kawas National Park, Punta Izopo National Park and the Lancetilla Botanical Garden.

In order to encourage private investment in the tourism sector, the funding will also be used to provide the basic infrastructure for the Los Micos Beach Resort, a large-scale tourism complex being developed in Tela Bay.
The Honduran government will provide capital for the construction of roads, potable water systems, electricity, sewage and rainwater systems and trash disposal. These projects will also benefit the communities of Tornabe and Miami.
In order to encourage the participation of small businesses throughout the country, the program will also create a fund to provide financial assistance to small-scale providers of tourism services and related businesses such as Laundromats, maintenance companies, restaurants and souvenir shops.

The National Sustainable Tourism Program was created after a lengthy process of consultation between local businesses and organizations, as well as indigenous and Afro-Honduran communities located within the program’s zone of influence.

The IDB funding covers a period of 40 years with a 10-year grace period and an annual interest rate of 1% during the first decade and 2% every subsequent decade. Local counterpart resources total $5,850,000.


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