Cayman Airways promotes Honduras connection

Cayman Airways direct flight
connection to Honduras is of mutual benefit to the airline and the economy in
Honduras, officials said at a press conference in La Ceiba last week.

Angel Salinas the vice mayor of La
Ceiba welcomed Cayman Airways’ decision to re-establish the direct connection
to the city from Grand Cayman.

Cayman Airways is currently the only
international airline that operates a direct flight to La Ceiba, he said.

Mr. Salinas expects the route will
support the local economy through the exchange of goods and by enabling
Hondurans working in Cayman to visit their families in Honduras.

“Cayman Airways has set an example
of how other international airlines can come to work with us,” he added.

The new connection will also help
the city’s efforts in promoting tourism in the region. Citing the successful
example of the Honduran island of Roatan, La Ceiba will attempt to attract more
tourists to the city, he said.

“We want to invite you to come and
visit us for our carnival. For some time we have been very limited with hotels
but now we can really treat you like you deserve,” Mr. Salinas said.

Cayman Airways stepped up the
promotion of its nonstop flights to Honduras with a Cayman-media
familiarisation trip from 6-10 May.

In cooperation with local tourism
operators Cayman’s national airline invited radio, TV and print journalists to
La Ceiba to showcase the variety of tourism experiences the destination has to
offer Cayman residents.

“After more than a year of
staycation, I think Cayman residents are ready to venture out and explore their
options for leisure travel again, especially in neighbouring destinations like
La Ceiba which offers a variety of vacation experiences to suit any budget,”
said Cayman Airways Marketing and Corporate Communications Manager Olivia Scott

She said Cayman Air-ways
re-launched the Grand Cayman-La Ceiba route last summer with weekly flights,
and in-creased the service to twice a week in October to meet the increasing
demand and to offer customers the option of weekend trips.

“There is not only a large
contingent of Honduran nationals living and working in the Cayman Islands who
travel back and forth regularly, but there are also a number of Caymanian
entrepreneurs who either have businesses or business ties in La Ceiba who
benefit greatly from Cayman Airways’ nonstop jet service to the destination,”
she added.

Now the airline wants to highlight
the destination’s unique attractions that would appeal to the residents of the
Cayman Islands.

La Ceiba is the country’s third
largest city with 174,000 inhabitants and famous for its local carnival each
May, when the city welcomes 500,000 visitors. The city is located on the
northern coast of Honduras at the foot of the Cordillera Nombre de Dios
mountain range.

In addition to the main tourist
attractions Roatan and the ancient Mayan ruins of Copan, La Ceiba is another
key region in the country’s tourism strategy.

 “Within the national strategy for tourism this
area, all of the north coast, we call it the Emerald Coast of Honduras, is a
priority region,” explained Honduras’ Vice Minister of Tourism Syntia Solomon.

Honduras and especially the
mountainous region surrounding La Ceiba has much to offer in terms of its
natural beauty, she said.

“We just need to create awareness
among the people of this region for the opportunities they have to exploit the
natural beauty around them.”

She emphasised that La Ceiba is
located where it could strategically feed into the Emerald Coast and the Bay
Islands of Roatan, Utila and Guanaja, all of which are only a short boat cruise
away from the city.

The direct flights provided by
Cayman Airways to La Ceiba are strategically important because “one of the
things that every destination needs is connectivity,” she added.

The media trip to La Ceiba included
visits to the rain forests of the Pico Bonito National Park, the mangroves of
the Cuero y Salgado Wildlife Refuge and the island of Roatan.

The national parks in particular
contain an abundance of wildlife, many rare species and dense jungle areas that
in parts remain unexplored.

Even though Honduras is less well
known for tourism than some other Central American countries, it has a much
wider range of tourism to offer, such as eco-tourism, ancient civilisation
cultures and quality beaches, said Romeo Silvestri, the representative for the
Bay Islands and president of the tourism commission in the Honduran National

Eco-tourism is the main attraction
around La Ceiba with a number of lodges and operators offering bird watching,
hiking, white water rafting and wildlife discovery activities in the
surrounding mountains and rain forests.

“I personally was surprised and
thrilled to discover and explore the breathtaking eco-tourism experiences
available throughout La Ceiba’s stunning Pico Bonito National Park,” said Ms.
Scott Ramirez.

“It’s almost hard to believe that
all of this is just an hour and 20 minutes flight away from Cayman.”

At a press conference with the
local media in La Ceiba last week Ms. Scott-Ramirez also stressed the
opportunities for Hondurans to visit Cayman.

“We want to encourage the residents
of La Ceiba and Honduras as a whole to take advantage of this convenient
opportunity Cayman Airways offers for visiting family and friends living in
Cayman, or explore the many vacation experiences the Cayman Islands also has to
offer throughout its three unique islands – Cayman Brac, Little Cayman and
Grand Cayman.”

Flights to Goloson Airport La Ceiba
depart twice a week on Thursdays and on Mondays from Owen Roberts International.

Cayman Airways currently has a
special promotion for flights to La Ceiba for travel that will be completed by
28 June 2010.


Cayman Airways aircraft at Goloson airport in La Ceiba, Honduras.
Photo: Michael Klein