April/ 2004 - Press Releases
Local and Regional Tourism Dominate Semana Santa
The many tourist destinations across the country are expected to attract some 1.3 million visitors over the Semana Santa holiday, according to the latest projections. Of these, an estimated 22,000 will be coming from other parts of Central America , primarily Guatemala and El Salvador .
In order to facilitate border crossings for these neighboring visitors, a new policy has reduced the number of stamps required to just one. This will significantly reduce the time and paperwork required when crossing from one country to the next - for holders of CA-4 passports. The procedure will be in effect from April 2 through 11 at the El Amantillo, Guasaule, El Poy, Agua Caliente, El Florido and Corinto border crossings.
Projected hotel occupancy rates for Semana Santa 2004 are as high as 95% at the country's top tourist destinations. During the same period in 2002 approximately 1.2 million tourists traveled Honduras . Of these 20,000 were foreigners, distributed as follows: 36% Salvadoran, 23% Guatemalan, 18% Nicaraguan, 9% U.S. , 9% European and 5% from other parts of the world.
In an effort to make the holiday more pleasant for all, municipal governments, private sector organizations, volunteer groups and the central government have been working together on a variety of activities. These include litter awareness campaigns and clean-up operations at the country's most popular beaches, national parks and other sites. At many sites local donations of trash cans have been made. Meanwhile, municipalities are working in cooperation with the Ministry of Health and the National Sewer Service (SANAA) to set up public restrooms at beaches nationwide.
On the South Coast , municipalities are working in coordination with the Honduran Institute of Tourism to improve their image. Projects include the renovation of historic downtown San Lorenzo and the pier at Amapala. Tourism information centers will also be set up throughout the region.
On the North Coast , projects are underway to set up lights and restrict the circulation of motor vehicles on public beaches, relocate street vendors, regulate transit and provide sufficient parking for individual vehicles and public transportation.
The Honduran Institute of Tourism has provided training to approximately 3,000 tourism service providers nationwide in areas such as cultural tourism, hygienic food processing and customer service. These training sessions are aimed at providing visitors with a more satisfying overall experience.
As personal safety is a top concern for tourists, the country's Tourism Police Force is ready to offer assistance and security to visitors in the country's top tourist spots - Roatan, La Ceiba, Tela, San Pedro Sula and Tegucigalpa . More than 100 agents have been fully trained to provide tourist information, maintain public order, manage complaints and perform other special services.