Its New Government Finally Inaugurated, Honduras Tourism Claws Back From Crisis By Discounting

January 27, 2010 at 5:53 pm | Posted in Central America, Honduras, value in travel | Leave a comment
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by José Balido

Back in July 2009, this blog offered a Honduras tourism primer and predicted that the recently erupted political crisis, in which president Manuel Zelaya was deposed, would blow over. A month ago, we pegged Honduras as a hot destination of 2010. Now, seven months after, as the democratically elected administration of Porfirio Lobo takes office and Zelaya departs Honduras for good, the country’s tourism industry is trying to make up for lost time.

It hasn’t been an easy seven months, of course. As its economy shrank, tourism business was especially hard hit, by some estimates contracting by as much as 40 percent. But the situation had calmed down by late ’09; travel alerts issued by the U.S. State Department and other governments were cancelled in December, and net air service and cruise lines visits were reported up even over 2008 levels. Forecasts now see the economy slightly expanding, with tourism mostly recovering lost gains by around July or August.

Even throughout those unsettling months, tourism development was marching on: a new landmark came in November, when Carnival’s 20-acre, $62 million Mahogany Bay cruise terminal in Roatán opened; it’s a two-berth cruise terminal which can accommodate up to 8,000 passengers daily. A multi-beach resort development project is set to break ground this year on Tela Bay. And the funky, diver-popular island of Roatan has been adding resorts, a golf course, cruise facilities, and condos. Many hotels, resorts, and tour operators are busy trying to lure visitors back with even better deals than usual. For example, most hotels near Copan’s stunning Maya ruins and in the lovely colonial town nearby are offering low season rates of less than $100 a night, and sometimes savings of up to 50 percent, through March 30 (normally their high season). Even La Ceiba’s prestigious Lodge at Pico Bonito is offering four nights for the price of three. Roatan resorts are dangling similar discounts, such as Anthony Key Resort’s “second-guest-50-percent-off” deal for 2010 stays.

Bottom line: Helping Honduras regain its footing can also help your wallet.

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