• The tourism industry performed satisfactorily through
October 2003, exceeding expectations based on the previous
year. In June, the Honduran Institute of Tourism and the National
Statistics Institute (INE) signed a Cooperation Agreement
to create a reliable data base through the improved collection
and processing of statistics related to tourism.
• In terms of foreign tourist arrivals, an estimated
322,000 visitors traveled to Honduras through the month of
June. This was a 17% increase over 2002 and far surpassed
the global tourism growth rate of 4%. Tourist revenues for
this period are estimated at US$200 million. By the end of
the year, 627,000 tourists and 880,000 visitors are expected
to spend US$400 million in Honduras.
• The “Law to Stimulate National Tourism”,
which was approved by the National Congress and stipulates
that all national holidays in October be transferred to Easter
Week (Semana Santa), brought about an unprecedented flow of
national tourists to the countryâ€™s different destinations.
Hotels enjoyed 93% occupancy rates as 1,227,371 tourists,
both national and foreign, traveled throughout Honduras.
• In terms of regional tourism, an aggressive campaign
was launched to promote El Salvadorâ€™s Ferias Agostinas.
The US$100,000 campaign brought about a flow of 40,000 tourists
in one week, a 115% increase over 2002 when only 18,000 tourists
made the trip. These visitors stayed an average of 4.4 days
and spent an average of US$80 per day for an overall spending
of US$14.08 million.
• Visits to the website www.letsgohonduras.com grew
by 300%. The site itself won the Microsoft Companyâ€™s
2003 @ de Oro award for excellence in institutional web design
in Central America.
• At the 16th annual ESMA Awards granted by the Superior
School of Marketing and Management at Spainâ€™s Girona
University, the Honduran Institute of Tourism was honored
for the important and relevant efforts it has made to strengthen
marketing and communication in the tourism sector and to promote
• As a result of our promotional efforts in Milan, Italy,
the weekly flight from Milan to Roatan was expanded to accommodate
140 additional passengers. An additional flight with a capacity
of 350 passengers is expected to begin during the first trimester
of 2004. These will double the number of European tourists
traveling to the Bay Islands.
• In terms of personal security, the Tourist Police
units created in 2002 in La Ceiba and Tela led to a significant
drop in incidents involving tourists. Additional units will
soon be operating in Roatan and Tegucigalpa, where training
is currently underway. With support from the government of
France and Mexico, members of the Tourism Police units in
La Ceiba and Tela received additional training in March and
June. Meanwhile, the Honduran Institute of Tourism donated
four 4x4 beach buggies to the units in Tela and La Ceiba to
support beach patrol efforts there. Additional squads are
planned for San Pedro Sula and Copan.
• The following foreign aid resources have been obtained:
IDB: US$48.8 million in processing, US$16.0 million in execution
(Bay Islands Environmental Management Program, 2nd Phase),
US$2.3 in pre-investment (basic infrastructure projects);
WORLD BANK: US$17 million in execution (Sustainable Coastal
Development Project and Copan Valley Development Project);
AECI: €491,000 in execution; Government of Spain: US$6.8
million in processing; other organizations: US$126,000 in
execution. Most of these projects are aimed at developing
infrastructure, services, strategic planning, local resources,
municipal management and tourism products in municipalities
with tourism potential. The grand total in processing and
execution is nearly US$81,982,000.
• In response to a significant increase in the number
of cruise ships docking in Honduras (108% growth from 2001
to 2002), the Honduran Institute of Tourism has created a
Bay Islands Cruise Committee. With representatives from government
offices, private sector organizations and the presidents of
each of the trade organizations related to the cruise industry,
the Committee is working to serve the needs of visiting cruises
in a manner that is organized and sustainable, offering visitors
a pleasant, quality stay. The IHT has presented the Committee
with a proposed Honduran Cruise Policy, which sets forth procedures
and regulations to be followed in this blooming industry.
A Plan of Action is currently being evaluated by the cruise
lines that dock in Honduras, who will work in cooperation
with the IHT.
• A course to train tour guides was held in Tegucigalpa
as part of a project to launch a City Tours service in cooperation
with the Mayorâ€™s Office.
• A pre-selection process was completed as a first step
in choosing a company to design and manage a port for cruise
ships on the North Coast.
• Preliminary designs for an airport in Copán
were completed with pre-investment funding from the IDB and
the process has continued into the formal design phase.
• Honduras and El Salvador signed an agreement to create
a system by which travelers between the two countries are
required to stop at only one customs point. The two countries
are regional leaders in this kind of system, which is intended
to facilitate travel between the two countries.
• As part of the IHTâ€™s Municipal Reinforcement
plan, the Municipal Tourism Development Unit has created 43
Tourism Committees across the country. The aim is to create
a permanent structure that will guarantee the tourism development
• The restoration and rehabilitation of the Santa Barbara
Fort in Trujillo has been completed. The site is now open
to the public, complete with pre-Hispanic, colonial and contemporary
museum exhibits. The project also included the creation of
a Management Office for Historic Downtown Trujillo with funding
from the Spanish International Cooperation Agency (AECI).
Efforts are now underway to create a master plan to restore
• On July 3, 2020, an agreement was signed to launch
the Copan Valley Regional Development Project with US$12 million
in funding from the World Bank. The Project is aimed at ensuring
sustainable tourism development in the Copán region
through the creation of an archaeological circuit that will
include archaeological parks at Copan Ruins, El Puente, El
Palenque and Guanajaâ€™s Plan Grande.
• A Sand Fly Management Plan was launched in four Bay
Islands municipalities to spread information and sand fly
control methods in an effort to make visitorsâ€™ stays
and the quality of life for local residents more pleasant.
A first series of fumigations is currently underway.
• The National Eco-Tourism Strategy is in development
should be ready for implementation next year. Its aim is to
regulate tourist activities in Protected Areas and National
• The first phase of a nationwide hotel classification
program has been completed. The program has been designed
to classify Honduran hotels and their services based on international
• The Assistance Program for Small Hotels in Central
America is funded by the OAS and aimed at providing training
for small hotel owners and employees in areas like marketing
and technology. Thirty hotels are currently participating
• As part of a new strategy to promote scientific tourism,
especially on the North Coast and on the countryâ€™s islands,
an agreement was signed in June with George Washington University
to create the Scientific Academic Volunteer Educational Tourism
Program (SAVE). The program is designed to market Honduras
as a travel destination to groups of scientists, academics
and volunteers interested in doing field studies here.
• The advertising agency BBDO-ZEUS was chosen to design
and produce the new Cultural Tourism Campaign, which was launched
over a two-week period in October.
• A cooperation agreement was signed with Tegucigalpa
Mayorâ€™s Office to begin providing tours through historic
Tegucigalpa and other points of interest in the nationâ€™s
• Working jointly with SETCO and the Ministry of Government
and Justice, negotiations are underway with Spainâ€™s
Junta de Andalusia to finance eight tourism projects in the
municipality of Amapala.
• Two Tourist Interpretation Centers were opened in
the municipalities of Atima and Santa Barbara in an effort
to strengthen local cultural identity and offer national and
foreign visitors with a larger selection of resources and
attractions as part of the Ruta de Junco initiative.
• The Our Lady of Suyapa National Observatory is now
open to the public as a new destination for tourists to the
nationâ€™s capital. Guides have been trained for the site
and a souvenir shop has been built.
• Support and technical assistance was provided to the
organizing committees of the local festivals in La Campa,
San Juan de Intibuca, San Marcos de Colon and Cantarranas.
• As part of a tourist safety program in the Gulf of
Fonseca, 554 life vests were donated to the Amapala Maritime
Transport Association, which provides boat rides for tourists
to the island. Efforts are also underway to implement safety
regulations for all companies offering boat transport in the
• The IHT has held a series of training sessions for
municipal Tourism Committees covering topics like cultural
tourism, hygienic food handling, and customer service. To
date, 38 such courses have been held in 15 municipalities
nationwide with the participation of 1,168 individuals.
• The representative for the Americas of the World Tourism
Organization visited Honduras to give a series of seminars:
two sessions to train local government to support sustainable
tourism, a course on e-commerce and optimizing resources in
marketing campaigns, and another on strengthening the IHT
• The Institute is also a permanent member of numerous
regional tourism organizations, including the Mundo Maya Organization,
the Central American Tourism Council, and Europeâ€™s Central
American Tourism Agency.