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Tourism, a national priority for Honduras

Honduras has joined the more than 70 countries committed to support the Travel and Tourism sector as a means to promote inclusive growth and development. During an official visit of UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai, President Juan Orlando Hernández was presented with the Open Letter on Travel and Tourism. The joint initiative by UNWTO and the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) calls on Heads of State and Government to publicly express their political commitment to support tourism as a development driver.

Political support at the highest level is a critical factor in advancing tourism’s role in national economic and development policies. Including Honduras, a total of 73 countries from around the world have now so far received the Open Letter on Travel and Tourism.

During an official four-day visit to the country, UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai presented President Juan Orlando Hernández with the Open Letter on Travel and Tourism. On the occasion, the President confirmed tourism’s importance “as a national priority for Honduras” and thanked UNWTO for supporting the country in its efforts to spur its international economic integration through tourism.

"Having tourism as a priority in your agenda is a very important and wise decision", said Mr. Rifai. “Honduras has a rich and diverse tourism offer that combines many market niches; I witnessed several projects clearly committed to a sustainable and responsible tourism development”, he added.

David Scowsill, President & CEO of WTTC says  “Travel & Tourism made up 15.9% of Honduras’ economy last year and that contribution is expected to rise by nearly 6% a year over the next decade.The Government’s commitment to the sector will bring rewards to the country in terms of increased visitors, spend and employment opportunities”.

Mr. Rifai also stressed that “Honduras must see itself as a connector between north and south, between the different cultures of Central America and as part of the greater circle of the Americas all together”.

The official visit by the UNWTO Secretary-General to Honduras, hosted by the Director of the Honduran Institute of Tourism (IHT), Emilio Silvestri, also included visits to different tourism development projects and initiatives such as the Mayan archeological sites in Copán, the colonial town of Gracias and the Caribbean town of Roatán, host of the forthcoming first UNWTO Global Observatory on Sustainable Tourism in the Americas.

On the occasion of the visit, 12 Honduran tourism companies and associations signed the Private Sector Commitment to the UNWTO Global Code of Ethics for Tourism, pledging to implement and promote its ethical principles in their policies and operations, further demonstrating Honduras’ recognition of tourism’s, social, cultural and economic importance.

In 2014, Honduras received 885,000 international tourists, an increase of 2.6% in comparison to 2013.

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