Is Honduras Ready to Receive International Tourists?
This is a difficult question to answer! As a rule, most businesses in Honduras are ready to receive international tourists. However, the government has not yet made its mind up about when they will allow for this to happen. Although the government of Honduras took early action and closed its borders and declared a curfew as early as March 16, 2020, they have not yet managed to flatten the curve as far as Covid-19 is concerned. I believe that things are quite under control, however a poor country like ours cannot remain with its economy closed for such a long period of time. As such, entities representing the private enterprise, such as the COHEP (Consejo Hondureño de Empresa Privada) have been putting a lot of pressure on the government to reopen.
An Intelligent Reopening of the Economy Begins Tomorrow!
As of tomorrow, June 8, the country is beginning a process that they call an intelligent reopening of the economy. Most businesses can begin reopening their doors in a limited manner as of tomorrow. However, they have set up three different areas within the country as far as reopening is concerned. These phases are divided by municipalities, where those in phase one can start next Monday with 60% of their employees. Those in phase two with 40% and phase 3 with 20%. The larger cities, such as Tegucigalpa, San Pedro Sula and La Ceiba are all in phase 3. Of course, they can only open if they comply with a series of bio-security protocols, which include disinfectants, social distancing, and having all their employees and customers wearing face masks. The government official notices have been notoriously unclear, and therefore, may be interpreted in different ways by different persons.
A nationwide curfew is still in place with no one allowed outside between 6 pm and 6 am. Only 10% of the population is allowed out daily. This is controlled by the last digit in your local ID card. If you are a foreigner, you can use your passport. The government document specifically excludes the following businesses from reopening yet: Local and interurban public transportation. Bars, nightclubs, movie cinemas, airports and all schools are to remain closed. The same applies to convention centers and sports events. Notoriously, hotels do not appear in this list, and therefore, you would assume that they can open their doors. The ministry of tourism however says that only hotels that tend to corporate travel can open their doors as of June 15.
Apparently, the reason for this limitation on hotels is because they are still making the final approval of the biosecurity protocols for hotels. So, the bottom line to the question of is Honduras ready to receive international tourists is no, it is not! Many of the small hotels are ready and eager. However, if the airports and borders are not open and there is no public transportation, it makes no sense to plan on traveling to Honduras yet.
The Honduras Private Sector is Able and Ready to Reopen
When will the country open again? This is the question that we all want an answer for. It appears that the government is still waiting for the Covid-19 curve to flatten. No telling when they will declaring that they have been successful in their efforts. My educated guess is that sometime between August and September we will begin to see airports reopen and flights starting to come back. These will mostly be within Central America but will have some coming in from the USA. Although hotels may be open before that, they will only be tending to local travelers who have their own private transportation.
I expect to see Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras to reopen their borders in that time frame. El Salvador celebrates its local holidays during the first week in August. We all would love to have the borders open by then. However, if we do not have the ferry service between La Ceiba and the Bay Islands of Roatan and Utila, they will not be visiting Honduras. I certainly hope that Honduras is ready to receive international tourists by then.[themify_hr color=”light-gray” width=”1″ border_width=”1″]
One thing is clear: Hondurans are ready to get out of quarantine and enjoy a vacation. We can say the same about citizens from El Salvador and Guatemala. The hotels are ready to receive them, as well as travelers from the USA. It all depends on when the government releases the lock down and reopens borders and airports. In the meantime, we have no alternative than waiting to see what happens! We all hope to say that Honduras is ready to receive international tourists!