Bay Islands, Honduras (September 1, 2009) – In the last two months, tourism-related businesses on the islands of Roatán, Utila and Guanaja have experienced a drop-off in visitors due to the change in government in Honduras on June 28. This, despite the fact that the environment for travelers on these Caribbean islands has remained unchanged since prior to that date. Today, the industry is ready to welcome an influx of visitors as high season approaches.
“Owners and employees at hotels, tour operators, attractions, restaurants and more are eager to welcome visitors to our country,” said Abarca. “We want them to experience Honduras’ natural beauty, diverse offerings and friendly people.”
In the past month, tourism-related businesses have participated in a nationwide campaign to spur domestic travel. This included 2-for-1 all-inclusive resort stays and domestic airline tickets, many of which sold out within just days of the promotion starting. Also this month, the islands saw a considerable number of visitors from El Salvador, amounting to approximately $2 million in tourism revenue. In the future months, the North American market remains a priority, with hotel and dive operators planning to release special promotions and packages targeted to those travelers.
“In the last four weeks, we have definitely seen an improvement over the decline in visitors in July,” said Karla Calidonio, marketing director for the Honduras Institute of Tourism. “We hope that the upward trend continues as we approach the beginning of high season in November.”
Despite perceived conditions in the Bay Islands and mainland Honduras, cruise operations in Roatán have not been interrupted. Royal Caribbean Cruise Ltd. made the decision to keep its port open, and Carnival Cruise Lines never altered its port calls to the island. These include two stops per week, with the Carnival Valor (3,300 passengers) and Carnival Legend (2,250 passengers). High season begins in October with four port calls per week and ships from Carnival, Norwegian Cruise Lines, Seabourn Cruises, Royal Caribbean International and others.
Continental Airlines and Delta Airlines also did not interrupt direct flights to Roatán in the past two months, although change fees were waived for a certain period of time. Currently, Continental offers direct flights from Houston to Roatán on Saturdays, and Delta offers direct flights from Atlanta on Saturdays. Travelers can also fly direct to San Pedro Sula on any of the above airlines, as well as American Airlines, Spirit Airlines and TACA Airlines, and make a connection to any of the three islands via a domestic carrier.
Located off the northern coast of Honduras, the islands of Roatán, Utila and Guanaja beckon to travelers seeking an affordable and adventure-driven, yet relaxing, Caribbean experience. Turquoise waters and the world’s second largest barrier reef surround the islands. Activities include zip-line canopy tours, horseback riding, snorkeling with dolphins, diving with whale sharks, immersion in the local Garifuna culture, and full-day scuba and snorkel trips.
Honduras is located in the heart of Central America, encompassing over 43,000 square miles, making it about the size of Tennessee. It is only a short flight from the U.S.: two hours from Miami or less than three hours from Houston or Atlanta. Honduras features a 500-mile Caribbean coastline on its north and a 100-mile Pacific coastline on its south. It borders on the west with Guatemala, the southwest with El Salvador, and on the east with Nicaragua. For more information, travelers can call 1-800-410-9608 or visit www.letsgohonduras.com.
Ypartnership, Public Relations