Tourism News From CATA Member Regions

Semana Santa en Chichicastenango

Guatemala Joins the World Network of Religious Tourism Destinations

Guatemala has joined the Global Network of Religious Tourism Destinations. One of the highlights of Guatemala’s heritage is its spiritual fervour, which makes it a desirable destination for religious tourism. For example, Holy Week in Guatemala was declared the Cultural Heritage of the Nation in 2008, and the Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in 2022 offered paramount activities. These include processions in which thousands participate, experiencing a spiritual moment of social and cultural connection.

During the Holy Week period of 2023, 2,971,889 national and 134,291 international tourists visited for the celebrations, experiencing the creation of colourful and spectacular fresh flower tapestries, pilgrimages and, of course, the culinary delights. INGUAT Director General Harris Whitbeck stated: “The opportunity offered by religious tourism plays a fundamental role in promoting and conserving Guatemala’s cultural and spiritual heritage. Being part of the Global Network of Religious Tourism Destinations is of utmost importance, as it will allow us to diversify and expand the tourism offer and position the country as a reference destination for travellers seeking unique experiences in sacred environments and living traditions”.

Recently, the Guatemalan Institute of Tourism (INGUAT) published the results of the tourism sector in 2023, with 2,649,967 non-resident visitors visiting Guatemala, representing an increase of 44% over the previous year. The country attracted 90,368 more tourists than in 2019.

Harris Whitbeck Ministro de Turismo de Guatemala

Nicaragua Reports an Increase in Visitors During 2023.

According to the Central Bank of Nicaragua’s report on tourism revenues in 2023, the arrival of more than 1,202,000 one million 202 thousand visitors generated a contribution of 739.2 million dollars to the country’s tourism system.

In 2022, Nicaragua received 932.7 thousand 932,700 people, with revenues of 595.6 million dollars, while, in 2023, arrivals and revenues increased by 28.9% and 24.1%, respectively. Average spending per person also increased to US$43.3, and an average stay of 10.6 days per person. Visitors came from North America, Central America and Europe.

Cañon de Somoto - Nicaragua

Honduras: Procedures Begin for the Expansion of Roatan Airport.

The Honduran Institute of Tourism has announced the start of the tender process for the renovation and expansion of the Juan Manuel Gálvez International Airport in Roatán, the main airport of the Bay Islands. The Roatán airport project, with its investment of more than US$15 million for the expansion of the passenger apron, construction of a new taxiway, reconstruction of the runway and new passenger terminal infrastructure, holds great promise for the future of the Bay Islands’ tourism industry. The redevelopment will significantly increase the airport’s capacity, enhancing the island’s appeal as a tourist destination. In 2023 alone, more than 500,000 people passed through this airport, which is likely to grow with the airport’s expansion.

Utila, Islas de las Bahía - Honduras

El Salvador: One of Four Countries with the Highest Tourism Growth in 2023.

In a remarkable achievement, El Salvador has secured the fourth spot among the countries that witnessed the most substantial surge in tourism in 2023, surpassing its 2019 figures. This significant milestone, as noted by the Minister of Tourism, Morena Valdez, clearly indicates the country’s growing appeal as a tourist destination. With a record-breaking 3.4 million visitors in 2023, marking a 30% increase from the previous year, El Salvador’s tourism sector has emerged as a key contributor to the economy, generating $3.7 billion in foreign exchange.

The Minister of Tourism further emphasised the country’s commitment to enhancing the quality of services, fostering collaboration between the public and private sectors, and striving for excellence in tourism service provision.

Avistamiento de ballenas jorobadas, playa los Cóbanos

Belize: Copa Airlines Increases Flights from Panama

Copa Airlines has made travel to Belize even more convenient with its enhanced flight services from Panama City to Belize City. Starting in June, flights will be available year-round on Mondays and Fridays, providing a flexible schedule for travellers. These flights, operated on a spacious Boeing 737-700, not only make the two destinations more accessible but also open exciting possibilities for tour operators to promote Central America as a multi-destination. Additionally, the extensive connections from Panama’s Las Americas airport hub to the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, and Europe further enhance the accessibility of Central America.

Playa Placencia, Belice

Panama: Carnival Festivities See an Impressive 73% Increase in Tourists

According to the National Migration Service (SNM), the number of international visitors during Carnival festivities in Panama has seen an impressive 73% increase. This year, the country received 98,850 tourists compared to 2023.

Carnavales de Panama
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