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October 28/ 2003
- Press Releases

Government Launches Program to Encourage Scientific
and Academic Tourism in Honduras

• Tourism Ministry implements Project SAVE to promote the research market in Honduras

In an effort to take advantage of a growing new niche of international tourists - those seeking educational and experimental experiences - the Honduran Ministry and Institute of Tourism have launched Project SAVE. As its name suggests, the program will emphasize tourism that is Scientific, Academic, Voluntary and Educational.

Activities like those promoted by Project SAVE tend to draw participants who are financially comfortable and highly educated. But the benefits that Honduras receives from the program reach far beyond mere economics. Travelers such as these also tend to leave behind a greater sensitivity to and appreciation of the local culture. Academic and scientific visitors can also bring the country prestige, especially when world renowned organizations are involved.

The Tourism Ministry has been working in cooperation with George Washington University (GWU) in Washington, D.C. to evaluate the potential that the country offers in this new realm of travel and to identify specific SAVE attractions.

The study was carried out in two phases. For the first, 16 students working for master’s degrees in Tourism and Business Management studied the width and depth that each of these segments offers in Honduras, including the interests, expectations and demands of tourists who would participate. For the second phase, the students visited Honduras to get to know first-hand the sites and the infrastructure and human resources that support them. The key focus areas were Tela, La Ceiba, Cayos Cochinos and Roatán.

The study was aimed at identifying the steps that Honduras must take to attract research scientists to protected areas, academics interested in tropical nature and culture, tourists eager to provide their experience and volunteer their time, and student groups ready to explore new surroundings and cultures.

Upon completion of their study, the GWU students shared their findings with local business leaders, helping them to create strategies and prepare market plans to develop new eco-tourism initiatives in Honduras. The study findings will also be incorporated into a special strategy designed to encourage SAVE tourism in Honduras.


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