As a response to the recent travel warning issued by the US State Department recommending US citizens to take extreme caution when traveling to Honduras, President “Pepe” Porfirio Lobo held a high level meeting in the Caribbean City of La Ceiba, in the North Coast region of the country of Honduras this past Friday, November 23rd. The meeting, which included the major of La Ceiba, Carlos Aguilar, as well as the ministers of tourism, Nelly Jerez; security, Pompeyo Bonilla, and defense, Marlon Pascua; was with members of the tourism sector of La Ceiba, as well as with representatives of other travel destinations in Honduras, including Tegucigalpa, San Pedro Sula, Utila, and Copan. The top echelon of the National Police was also present, including General Juan Carlos “El Tigre” Bonilla, as well as commissioners Castillo of the Community police, and Lennin Pineda Bocanegra, of the Tourism Police in Honduras. Also present was the Joint Chief of Staff, General Rene Osorio, the maximum military authority in Honduras.
President Lobo declared that he is committed to support tourism in Honduras, and declared the creation of safe tourism routes: Primarily the route from Copan Ruinas to Trujillo, including the cities of San Pedro Sula, Tela and La Ceiba; and the route from San Pedro Sula to Tegucigalpa, including the cities of Siguatepeque and Comayagua, finally also part of the route are the Bay Islands of Honduras.
Mr. Troy Bodden, one of the leading tourism entrepreneurs of the Caribbean Island of Utila, explained the success that they have had by working together with the National Police and Honduran Navy. Together they have deployed police and military presence in Utila and have already had astonishing results, capturing criminals of the last two incidents on the island. The idea is to replicate that experience on the Mainland of Honduras, and the City of La Ceiba has been declared the recipient of major efforts to ensure a safe travel destination.
In a private meeting, authorities and the local tourism entrepreneurs of La Ceiba agreed that emphasis must be made in the zona viva area of the city, the Cangrejal River tourist area and the corridor between the Cuero y Salado Wildlife Refuge along the CA13 highway through town and on to the port facility where tourists take the ferry to the Bay Islands of Utila and Roatan as well as to the Garifuna villages of Corozal and Sambo Creek.
Tourism entrepreneurs in La Ceiba are excited with the proposal and committed to help in the implementation of policies to make of their city a safe destination. Dates for official meetings in other destinations, including Tela, Trujillo, Roatan, Copan Ruinas and San Pedro Sula were also established.
Pamy Marinakys, president of the National Chamber of Tourism in Honduras declared that the tourism industry in Honduras is committed to bringing sustained growth to this sector of the economy and is expecting to attract many travelers to the lovely destinations that this country has to offer. It must be noted that criminal incidents where tourist are affected are few and rare, and that tourists are not targeted by organized crime in the country.