A delegation of resort owners from the Honduran island of Roatan are traveling to Tegucigalpa to seek help in getting the U.S. to lift a travel advisory that they say is hurting tourism to the destination.
Gene Albert, an Oregon businessman who owns the Infinity Bay Spa and Beach Resort on Roatan, said some of the Honduran nationals who own businesses on the island were going to meet with the tourism minister to see if he could help persuade the U.S. Embassy to remove Roatan from the travel advisory.
The advisory against all travel to Honduras was issued June 28, the day after the Honduran military ousted President Manuel Zelaya and sent him out of the country.
"There should have never been an advisory on Roatan," he said. "It’s like if there were riots in L.A. and you had a travel advisory for the whole United States."
Roatan, the largest of Honduras' Bay Islands, is in the Caribbean. Honduras' capital, Tegucigalpa, is about 160 miles south of Roatan.
The island is peaceful, business continues as usual and cruise and cargo ships continue to make their regular stops, Albert said. But there have been a rash of hotel cancellations since the travel advisory was issued.
"The tourists are all canceling because of what they are hearing. And the situation is quite opposite of what they are hearing. It is so peaceful," said Albert.
Albert said he had not tallied estimates of what percentage of guests had canceled.
"For everybody it has been dramatic," he said. "We know that when this is over and we go into [high] season in November that everything will be fine. But it’s put a lot of pressure on the working class. … We are trying to work out some job sharing so we don’t have to lay people off."