Honduran Armed Forces Pave the Way for a Boost in Tourism

Honduran Armed Forces Pave the Way for a Boost in Tourism

By Dialogo
April 30, 2015





Honduras takes pride in having the largest inscribed text of the Mayan civilization: 1,800 individual glyphs on the Hieroglyphic Staircase in Copán, declared a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1980. The high-relief artwork the ancient Mayans created in Copán is second to none in the Maya world.

What Honduras did not have until March was an airport where tourists interested in visiting the ruins could land. Now it does, thanks to the hard work of the Honduran Armed Forces.

The new Río Amarillo (Yellow River) Airport is open for business. Built by the First Battalion of Engineers, who were led by Colonel José Hilario Leiva, the facility is located 20 minutes from Copán Ruins Archaeological Park in the department of Yoro. Construction began in 2014, and the $4 million dollar effort concluded after eight months of work.

The airport's hydraulic concrete runway measures 4,593 feet and has additional 490-feet buffers on each side. “This airstrip has a capacity to receive airplanes of 40 to 50 passengers,” explained Corps of Engineers Major Óscar Soler Soto, who was in charge of the construction.

Connecting different regions by improving infrastructure


“This is only one of several locations in which we will be improving infrastructure,” President Hernández said in his speech inaugurating the airport on March 10. “These works will be paired with the construction and improvement of highways as well.”

Hernández has been advocating for the airport since at least 2007, when he was a congressman and introduced a bill to declare the “Ruta Lenca” (Lenca Trail) a national priority. The Lenca Trail is a 76-mile route connecting Santa Rosa de Copán to La Esperanza, in the department of Intibucá, along which travelers get to enjoy quaint villages, colonial architecture dating back to the 1600s, and colorful markets filled with clay pottery and textile handiwork made by members of one of Honduras' largest indigenous groups, the Lencas.

The airport will connect both the Lenca Trail and the Maya Trail with Roatán, the largest of the Bay Islands, an archipelago Honduras owns in the Caribbean Sea, to increase tourism between the insular department and the mainland. The islands have long been popular destinations for tourists from all over the world, especially those interested in first-quality diving, but direct access to the Mayan ruins from the islands was non-existent.

“The airport connects the triangle,” analyst and columnist Juan Ramón Martínez said, referring to the Lenca Trail, the Maya Trail, and Roatán. “The Military engineers did a great job, they worked nonstop to have the airport up and running as soon as possible. It will facilitate the movement of people. Whereas a tourist chose only one destination before, to avoid the hassle of abandoning their convenience for more difficult and lengthy travel arrangements, they can now visit two or three places in one day, if that’s what they want. It was the great collaboration between the government and the Armed Forces that made it possible.”

“The work of the members of the Battalion of Engineers was crucial. Because the Batallion of Engineers carried out the project, we saved the country more than 35 percent of what it would have cost to build with an outside private company," added Emilio Silvestri, the director of the Honduran Institute of Tourism. Silvestri took a 50-minute test flight between the capital, Tegucigalpa, and Río Amarillo.

Community eagerly awaits benefits of airport


Now that the airport has been opened, many more people will be able to fly between several cities and other locations. Local residents are excited about the positive and social impact the airport will generate.

“For us the runway represents the take-off that we had been waiting for, economically, commercially, and socially, as now we will be able to establish ties with the people of friendly nations who come to visit us," said Santa Rita Mayor Sergio Portillo.

CM Airlines and Transportes Aéreos de Guatemala were the first two passenger carriers to request permission to operate from the airport and to fly to and from Tegucigalpa, as well as from San Pedro Sula and Roatán, three times a week.

The same week Río Amarillo was completed, the Armed Forces picked up its machinery from Copán and headed to Tela to rebuild that runway. Tela is a port in the Caribbean where people flock to year-round for its white sand and palm-lined, seemingly endless beaches. In Tela, military engineers are expanding the deteriorated airstrip by 1,640 feet to bring the completed concrete infrastructure to 5,249 feet. And just like they did in Copán, they will build a terminal, hangars, and a parking area, in addition to the runway.

More airports will be built


The work of the First Battalion of Engineers extends beyond the airport. The engineers have contingents working on projects in every part of Honduras. These efforts include the construction of an airport in Choluteca, in the southern region of the country; an airport in Catacamas, located to the east; and an airport in Trujillo, on the northern coast. In April, the Armed Forces completed an airport in Celaque, Lempira Department.

The Military engineers are working hard to fulfill President Hernández's vision of improving the country's transportation infrastructure.

“We will accomplish our dream to be at the helm in all the region," President Hernández said before the opening ceremony in Copán.

The benefits of these projects are already apparent. For example, the airstrip in Copán will dramatically increase of the flow of visitors for the remainder of 2015.

“We are expecting an influx of 180,000 tourists from Europe, the United States, Mexico, and Central America,” Silvestri told reporters. That would be “almost double what we receive annually in Copán.”




Honduras takes pride in having the largest inscribed text of the Mayan civilization: 1,800 individual glyphs on the Hieroglyphic Staircase in Copán, declared a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1980. The high-relief artwork the ancient Mayans created in Copán is second to none in the Maya world.

What Honduras did not have until March was an airport where tourists interested in visiting the ruins could land. Now it does, thanks to the hard work of the Honduran Armed Forces.

The new Río Amarillo (Yellow River) Airport is open for business. Built by the First Battalion of Engineers, who were led by Colonel José Hilario Leiva, the facility is located 20 minutes from Copán Ruins Archaeological Park in the department of Yoro. Construction began in 2014, and the $4 million dollar effort concluded after eight months of work.

The airport's hydraulic concrete runway measures 4,593 feet and has additional 490-feet buffers on each side. “This airstrip has a capacity to receive airplanes of 40 to 50 passengers,” explained Corps of Engineers Major Óscar Soler Soto, who was in charge of the construction.

Connecting different regions by improving infrastructure


“This is only one of several locations in which we will be improving infrastructure,” President Hernández said in his speech inaugurating the airport on March 10. “These works will be paired with the construction and improvement of highways as well.”

Hernández has been advocating for the airport since at least 2007, when he was a congressman and introduced a bill to declare the “Ruta Lenca” (Lenca Trail) a national priority. The Lenca Trail is a 76-mile route connecting Santa Rosa de Copán to La Esperanza, in the department of Intibucá, along which travelers get to enjoy quaint villages, colonial architecture dating back to the 1600s, and colorful markets filled with clay pottery and textile handiwork made by members of one of Honduras' largest indigenous groups, the Lencas.

The airport will connect both the Lenca Trail and the Maya Trail with Roatán, the largest of the Bay Islands, an archipelago Honduras owns in the Caribbean Sea, to increase tourism between the insular department and the mainland. The islands have long been popular destinations for tourists from all over the world, especially those interested in first-quality diving, but direct access to the Mayan ruins from the islands was non-existent.

“The airport connects the triangle,” analyst and columnist Juan Ramón Martínez said, referring to the Lenca Trail, the Maya Trail, and Roatán. “The Military engineers did a great job, they worked nonstop to have the airport up and running as soon as possible. It will facilitate the movement of people. Whereas a tourist chose only one destination before, to avoid the hassle of abandoning their convenience for more difficult and lengthy travel arrangements, they can now visit two or three places in one day, if that’s what they want. It was the great collaboration between the government and the Armed Forces that made it possible.”

“The work of the members of the Battalion of Engineers was crucial. Because the Batallion of Engineers carried out the project, we saved the country more than 35 percent of what it would have cost to build with an outside private company," added Emilio Silvestri, the director of the Honduran Institute of Tourism. Silvestri took a 50-minute test flight between the capital, Tegucigalpa, and Río Amarillo.

Community eagerly awaits benefits of airport


Now that the airport has been opened, many more people will be able to fly between several cities and other locations. Local residents are excited about the positive and social impact the airport will generate.

“For us the runway represents the take-off that we had been waiting for, economically, commercially, and socially, as now we will be able to establish ties with the people of friendly nations who come to visit us," said Santa Rita Mayor Sergio Portillo.

CM Airlines and Transportes Aéreos de Guatemala were the first two passenger carriers to request permission to operate from the airport and to fly to and from Tegucigalpa, as well as from San Pedro Sula and Roatán, three times a week.

The same week Río Amarillo was completed, the Armed Forces picked up its machinery from Copán and headed to Tela to rebuild that runway. Tela is a port in the Caribbean where people flock to year-round for its white sand and palm-lined, seemingly endless beaches. In Tela, military engineers are expanding the deteriorated airstrip by 1,640 feet to bring the completed concrete infrastructure to 5,249 feet. And just like they did in Copán, they will build a terminal, hangars, and a parking area, in addition to the runway.

More airports will be built


The work of the First Battalion of Engineers extends beyond the airport. The engineers have contingents working on projects in every part of Honduras. These efforts include the construction of an airport in Choluteca, in the southern region of the country; an airport in Catacamas, located to the east; and an airport in Trujillo, on the northern coast. In April, the Armed Forces completed an airport in Celaque, Lempira Department.

The Military engineers are working hard to fulfill President Hernández's vision of improving the country's transportation infrastructure.

“We will accomplish our dream to be at the helm in all the region," President Hernández said before the opening ceremony in Copán.

The benefits of these projects are already apparent. For example, the airstrip in Copán will dramatically increase of the flow of visitors for the remainder of 2015.

“We are expecting an influx of 180,000 tourists from Europe, the United States, Mexico, and Central America,” Silvestri told reporters. That would be “almost double what we receive annually in Copán.”
I like this news report on my country, Honduras.
But we have an accusation of corruption in our country, unlike anything we've had for a long time, and I don't see any reports on the IHSS scandal.
I hope you provide coverage.
Thank you
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