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7 July / 2003
Government Signs Agreement with World Bank to Develop Copan Valley

Honduran Finance Minister Arturo Alvarado and World Bank General Manager Shengman Zhang signed an agreement in Copan Ruinas this month for a $12.3 million loan to fund the Copan Valley Regional Development Project. President Ricardo Maduro was present at the signing ceremony as well.

The project is aimed at increasing the economic and social prosperity of the Copan region. It is based on a strategy to implement and promote eco-friendly tourism throughout the valley, taking advantage of its archeological potential. Its key axes are gender equality and integration, and sustainability. Both are aimed at guaranteeing an all-inclusive development of the region.

The funds will be executed by the Tourism Ministry and the Honduran Institute of Tourism over a period of four years. Objectives include the implementation of management plans for the archaeological parks in Copán, El Puente, Los Naranjos and Cerro Palenque. Plans also include the opening of a fifth park in the Plan Grande zone on the island of Guanaja in the Bay Islands.

The project also includes a series of modules to cover a variety of areas, such as the management of productive natural resources in the five parks and surrounding areas, in order to avert the negative environmental impact of factors like deforestation, erosion and natural disasters. Training and technical assistance will also be included to help local residents create alternative tourist attractions that are of high quality and low impact. Small businesses like restaurants and inns are expected to help prolong the length of the average visitor’s stay, generating increased income for residents and creating investment opportunities in the tourism sector.

In addition to reinforcing local abilities, the project also seeks to create jobs in areas like park management and tour guides. Meanwhile, local school children and their families will be educated about the importance of the environment and the Copan Valley’s rich biodiversity and cultural heritage. Additional funding will go to financing direct and indirect business activities among the region’s most underprivileged.

The Copan Valley Regional Development Project is the second project financed by the World Bank through the Tourism Ministry and the Honduran Institute of Tourism. The first was the Sustainable Coastal Tourism Project.


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