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23 Jul / 2004

Lenca communities place their bets on sustainable rural tourism

A group of Lenca Indian communities from Lempira department are betting on sustainable rural tourism as the best alternative for improving their standard of living. The communities - which include San Sebastián, San Manuel Colohete, San Marcos de Caiquín, La Campa, Gracias and Belén - have joined forces to create the COLOSUCA Tourist Circuit, aimed at drawing a steady flow of tourists to this part of the country and using tourism revenues to fight poverty - which is high - in the area.

The Spanish Agency for International Cooperation and the Honduran Institute of Tourism have identified the COLOSUCA Circuit as one of the country’s greatest potential draws for tourists interested in ecology and eco-adventure. The COLOSUCA zone was selected for its wealth of cultural and natural resources, not the least of which are access to Celaque National Park, the region’s history as home to the country’s first national capital, rich architectural offerings (especially churches) from the 16th and 17th centuries and a vibrant community of Lenca Indians living out their traditional customs and producing hand made pottery.

The new circuit is part of the Honduran government’s ongoing policy to promote the tourism sector. It has been designed to take advantage of a variety of initiatives aimed at encouraging rural tourism in an area of great historic heritage, and making sure that tourism is sustainable. The COLOSUCA circuit is part of the larger Lenca Route, which is a complete and coherent regional initiative that gives new value to the zone’s natural and cultural resources and Lenca culture. The project is also designed to lessen the gender gap and increase women’s access to development opportunities and social and community progress.

The key segments of the initiative include strengthening the management and promotion of tourism, conceptualizing and developing the tourist circuit, protecting and promoting the zone’s cultural heritage and basic social infrastructure, encouraging sustainable development and improving the quality of life of the local population.

The vision of participating communities is to create a regional agency to coordinate the efforts of all related local sectors and society at large in order to ensure that development be sustainable. Another goal is to manage and implement a plan that involves the wide participation of local governments and community members in order to ensure the rational use of the zone’s resources.


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