The damage to Honduras’ tourism sector as a result of the coup will take up to 10 years to repair, according to the minister of tourism of the country.
Ricardo Martinez (pictured) said a large number of tourism projects and infrastructure improvements had been shelved due to the instability in the country.
However, he said many private developments such as hotel building were continuing as normal.
Speaking at a specially-convened press conference at this year’s Central America Travel Market, Martinez said: “According to the Economic Commission of Latin America, investment, infrastructure and quality of life such as getting people out of poverty has been set back by 10 years.
“Tourism is going to play an important role in the recovery of the economy.
“We need to repair the country’s image and one of the fastest ways we can do that is with tourism.”
One hundred and fifty five thousand people and 7,500 small businesses are directly involved in the tourism sector in Honduras.
Tourism is centred mainly on the Caribbean coast, and has been largely unaffected by events.
Martinez said he knew of just one incident in the capital involving a bus full of tourists caught up between demonstrators and the military, which secured their safe passage and no casualties were reported.
Some companies which include Tegucigalpa such as Journey Latin America have had to change itineraries.
The $250m expansion of a major port, Puerto Cortes; a highway connecting the coast to the border of El Salvador and the planned airport at Copan have all been shelved.
However, a controversial development at Tela on the coast by an Italian group, and a port development on the island of Roatan will go ahead as planned.
The country was thrown into chaos when former president Manuel Zelaya was removed by the military and forced into exile in June.
He made a dramatic return in September when he entered the country in the boot of a car and took up residency in the Brazil Embassy.
Since then, Honduras has been in political limbo.
Talks are ongoing with a deadline to resolve the crisis imposed by the negotiation commission this Thursday (October 15).