16 November/ 2004
President commits to save Geotourism
ORGANISATION OF AMERICAN STATES Washington, D.C.
(October 26, 2020) ¬ The President of Honduras signed an historic
agreement designed to attract Scientific, Academic, Volunteer
and Educational (SAVE) travelers in a comprehensive plan to create
wealth while conserving natural resources and stimulating culture
in the Central American region.
The agreement with the National Geographic Society, Counterpart
International and The George Washington University (GWU) will
draw specialty travelers in the diversification and strengthening
of Honduras' natural and cultural attractions.
SAVEâ€™s consortium partners are developing a long-term model
for increasing the credibility of destinations, providing experiential
learning opportunities, and engaging travelers in conserving and
improving unique landscapes and communities.
Speaking to a large assemblage of media and the diplomatic community
in the elegant mansion housing the headquarters of the Organization
of American States (OAS), President Ricardo Maduro said Honduras
is proud to be the first country in the world to embrace both
the SAVE approach to tourism development, and the concept of "geotourism",
which "sustains or enhances the geographical character of
a place ¬ its environment, culture, aesthetics, heritage and
the well-being of its residents."
President Maduro said that since he was in the OAS he hoped the
Honduran approach incorporating SAVE based on geotourism would
be seen as a model suitable for other countries of the region.
Noting he and other presidents of the OAS were regularly consulting
each other on security-related issues, he said sustainable tourism
could contribute to lasting peace and security in the Central
Minister of Tourism Thierry Pierrefeu reminded assembled Latin
American and Caribbean diplomats and dignitaries that the Caribbean
starts in Honduras, with its 750 kilometers of beaches and pristine
coastline and the second largest barrier reef in the world. With
one percent of the world's landmass, Honduras, he noted, has seven
percent of its biodiversity. The sustainable tourism plan is important
for building a stronger national identity as citizens re-connect
to their heritage and their environment.
Chairman of the National Geographic Society Gilbert M. Grosvenor,
whose family launched the National Geographic magazine over a
century ago, declared the Mayan ruins of Copan in Honduras, excavated
in part by the society's archeologists, were his favorite. He
committed the resources of the society, which operates several
magazines and two TV channels, to promoting the Honduran geotourism
drive. The geotourism concept was developed by Jonathan Tourtellot
of National Geographic Traveler magazine.
Professor Donald Lehman, Executive Vice President for Academic
Affairs at The George Washington University, which helped design
the SAVE concept through the work of tourism guru Professor Don
Hawkins, pledged to work closely with the Honduran Institute of
Tourism to carefully develop tourism destinations around the Mesoamerican
nation's significant biodiversity, cultural and academic assets.
Lelei LeLaulu, President of Counterpart International, a non-profit
development organization, lauded the vision of the Honduran leadership.
"It is so encouraging to meet a leader like President Maduro
who instinctively understands the value of sustainable tourism
as a potent weapon in the fight against poverty. He and Minister
Pierrefeu, plus the Honduras Institute of Tourism (IHT), recognize
sensible policies can ensure tourism provides jobs and builds
healthy communities for regions with little or no other resources."
SAVE, an initiative originated by IHT and jointly developed with
GWU, is a component of a pioneering tourism strategy in the Central
American nation. SAVE consortium partners will also commit to
the geotourism principles developed by the National Geographic