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Honduras: Supporting Local Tourism

Honduran singer-songwriter and blogger Guillermo Anderson is a big believer in how local tourism can help his country. He writes in a recent post called “There's This Little Hotel,” in his blog and re-published with permission that “to be able to create a tourism of this flavor is to believe in the essence and beauty of our country. It is about believing that all communities can benefit. It is about believing and having confidence that we in Honduras have more than enough to succeed without having to leave for foreign lands to seek out our futures.”

Photo by Jose Luis Duron and used under a Creative Commons license.

Photo by Jose Luis Duron and used under a Creative Commons license.

Anderson also has friends in the tourism industry in his country. However, they do not work for the large chains, but instead have worked hard to build their small businesses. Here, Anderson describes their work:

Contestan el teléfono llevan los libros y después de una llamada, manejan el Van y dejan al cuidado de la oficinita a su compañera. Salen a atender sus turistas y hablan tres idiomas, conocen de historia, cultura y a veces el nombre y propiedad de cada planta en el camino. Cargan en sus espaldas cayacs, grandes balsas inflables, equipos de Canopy, de escalar, hieleras con frutas para sus clientes y aún así logran mantener una sonrisa y amabilidad para los turistas fascinados con nuestra flora y fauna y la belleza natural que nos rodea.

They answer their own phones, do their own books, and whenever they get a call they drive the van themselves and leave their partner to watch over the business. They offer a personal and friendly service to the tourists. They speak three languages and understand the local history and culture, and they sometimes even know the names and physical properties of the plants along the way. They carry the canoes on their backs, big inflatable rafts, canopy and rock climbing equipment, ice coolers with fruit for their clients. And even with all of this, they manage to keep a smile on their face and remain good-natured for the tourists, who are fascinated by our flora and fauna and all the natural beauty that surrounds us.

He adds more description about their work of building the tourism industry in Honduras:

Tengo amigas que con grandes esfuerzos han logrado convertir una casita en un colorido rincón o pueblo de mi país en los hotelitos y pensiones más acogedores del mundo. Amigos que que como magos, crean con piedras, bejucos, troncos y flores y con gran gusto y amor las decoraciones más creativas. La rueda de una carreta olvidada se convierte en una hermosa mesa para degustar el aromático café que una Sra. del pueblo sabe tostar, un viejo caracol se convierte en un tesoro y un cayuco que el mar dejó olvidado en la arena, en el macetero de flores tropicales más hermoso que ojos jamás han visto.

I have friends who have worked hard and managed to transform tiny houses in colorful corners or villages of my country into some of the most charming little hotels and hostels in the world. As if they were magicians, they've taken stones entangled with vines and torsos of trees and flowers and lovingly conjured up some of the most creative decorations. The wheel of an old cart left to rot has been turned into an elegant table on which to quietly sip and enjoy a cup of aromatic coffee roasted by a woman from the town. An old shell of a snail… an old dug out canoe that the sea left to be forgotten in the sand… an old clay pot overflowing with lush tropical flowers… All turned into unimaginable treasures that eyes have seldom seen.

However, Anderson notes that the economic crisis has had a drastic effect on his friends in the tourism industry. Due to the lack of customers, many of these hotels have had to close. Yet, some of them have remained opened due to the sacrifices made by their owners. He speaks directly to Honduran readers:

Si este verano hay hondureños que a pesar de la crisis están pensando hacer turismo aunque de manera modesta, quiero que piensen en las pequeñas operaciones y en estos lugares y que además de acogedores son lugares que creen en nuestro potencial , que creen en nuestra gente , en nuestra cultura y son pequeños nidos de esperanza.

If there are Hondurans who, despite the crisis, are thinking about taking even a modest vacation this summer, I'd like them to consider the kind of places I've mentioned because, aside from their charm, they are places that believe in our potential, believe in our people and culture, and are tiny refuges of hope.

Anderson summarizes about the role that Hondurans can take to ensure that places like the ones described above remain open and able to showcase the beauty of the entire country:

Nosotros debemos ser los promotores más entusiastas de nuestro país. Sirva este medio para sugerir lugares y promover ese “hotelito “que conocemos en un hermoso rinconcito de Honduras donde nos atendieron bien y comimos un plato nacional que no habíamos probado antes. Esa pequeña agencia donde un tipo amable nos llevó a conocer una hermosa caída de agua y aprendimos sobre plantas y animales o donde vimos una celebración tradicional que nos hizo apreciar mas nuestra cultura ; Visitar y apoyarlos será un gesto de amor a un país que hoy tanto lo necesita.

We should be the most enthusiastic promoters of our country. I would like for everyone to start thinking about helping spread the word about that “little hotel” that we know in a tiny corner of Honduras where were treated so well and where we ate Honduran food that we had never tasted before. Spread the word about that small tour company where a nice person took us to see a spectacular waterfall and taught us about the indigenous plants and wildlife, and where we saw a traditional festival that inspired us to better appreciate our culture. Let's visit and support these places. It would be a gesture of love toward a country that today very much needs it.
Translation support by Marco Cáceres

2 comments

  • […] cultures and countries, so after the lecture I searched the site. There are blogs that discuss tourism in Honduras and students in Japan lighting a candle for Haiti. I then read blogs about South Africa. I read […]

  • Hi dear Eduardo:
    Esta entrada me ha robado suspiros y deseos por recorrer Honduras. Es una auténtica Invitación a conocer sus playas.

    El turismo es una alternativa saludable y económica para su lindos habitantes.

    Best regards!

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