Honduras inching back to economic recovery

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras, Feb. 9 (UPI) -- Honduras is inching back toward economic recovery and sees more international tourism as a way out of the crisis triggered by its June 2009 coup.

Honduras depends heavily on tourism income, U.S. aid and preferential trade and remittances from its nationals in the United States.


Events after the June 2009 coup that toppled President Jose Manuel Zelaya led to Honduras' international isolation that his successor Porfirio Lobo has been fighting ever since.

U.S. diplomatic help enabled Lobo to start rebuilding the Honduran economy and relieve poverty and suffering among 8.2 million Hondurans.

The Central American country's ambitious solar-powered tourism resort on the Roatan Island in the Caribbean expects to start receiving larger numbers of tourists after U.S. solar power provider Onyx Service and Solutions, Inc. announced the completion of a major new project on the beach.

The West Bay Lodge Resort, located near the West Bay Beach, will be run by the company's new 330-watt panel.

Work on the project began last October. The West Bay Lodge Caribbean resort is the first project to be fully completed by Onyx.


Roatan is an internationally renowned tourist destination, a substantial source of revenue for Honduras and a growing hub for American expatriates in the area. The July 2011 issue of Islands magazine rated Roatan the world's leading destination for retirement.

Onyx said it chose Roatan as part of its strategy to market solar power plants in Latin America. The installation in Roatan will cut the community's costs on running diesel-powered electricity generation.

"Numerous nations throughout Latin America and the Caribbean use diesel-generated electricity as their sole method of supplying power to their citizens and businesses," Onyx said in a statement.

"This imported diesel is a quick solution to the need for electricity but comes at a high cost to the sovereignty and financial stability of these countries."

Thanks to the region's sunny climate, solar power has been identified as an ideal economical solution to power these countries, Onyx said.

Honduras, the second poorest country in Central America after Haiti, suffers from extraordinarily unequal distribution of income, as well as high underemployment.

Nearly half of the country's economic activity is tied to the United States, with U.S.-bound exports accounting for 30 percent of its gross domestic product and remittances for another 20 percent.


Lobo says its administration inherited a difficult fiscal position with huge off-budget debts.

An International Monetary Fund stand-by aid package in October 2010 helped renew multilateral and bilateral donor confidence in Honduras.

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