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Central America: Germany is the second most important European market for tourism 

The Central American Tourism Agency (CATA) will participate in the annual edition of the world’s leading travel trade show, ITB Berlin, where many international tourism stakeholders will meet.

From March 7 to 9, CATA will be present in Hall 22, Stand 212, of the fair, where it will promote the multidestination offer of the Isthmus.

The combination of two or more destinations in the region allows for experiences in adventure, nature, archaeology, and culture.

Honduras, with its Caribbean islands, natural experiences, archaeology, colonial and religious history, offers a tourist offer for all types of travelers

During ITB, CATA provides tourism news and information on tourism development in the Heart of the Americas.

In 2021, the countries of the Central America region and the Dominican Republic recorded 11.1 million tourists, representing a 75.8% increase in visits and a 49.8% increase in total visitors.

From Europe, 1.2 million arrived in the region, representing 14.8% of the total travelers.

Of these, 164,007 tourists were registered from Germany, making it the second most important European market for tourism after Central America and the Dominican Republic.

According to the latest data released in January 2023, UNWTO indicates that more than 900 million tourists made international trips in 2022, twice as many as in 2021, with the Americas, including the countries of Central America and the Dominican Republic, recovering about 65% of pre-pandemic visitor numbers.

As a result, the region expects a much more robust recovery by the end of 2023.

In this sense, CATA continues to work to increase the region’s presence in international markets through a renewed offer that meets the expectations of travelers in the phase of reactivation of tourism after the Covid-19 pandemic and contributes to a full recovery of the sector.

The Caye Caulker Marine Reserve in Belize (Photo internet reproduction)

BELIZE

Located on the Caribbean coast in northern Central America, the country recorded the arrival of 5,266 German tourists in 2022.

The figures represent an increase of 503.2% compared to 2021, when 873 travelers from Germany visited the country.

For 2023, Belize has new tourism products, accommodations, and attractions on tap to provide travelers with the best experience possible.

The Best Western Belize Biltmore Plaza, Radisson Fort George Hotel, and Princess Ramada Hotel are undergoing upgrades and making the necessary adjustments to offer more and better lodging options to tourists looking for new experiences amidst the beauty of Belize in 2023.

In addition, Airbnb has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Belize Tourism Board.

The agreement aims to collaborate with the two organizations to promote sustainable tourism in Belize through home-sharing.

Also, the beach destination of Goff’s Caye and the Caye Caulker Marine Reserve are preparing to become two of Belize’s top natural attractions and establish themselves as a must-see for visitors by 2023.

Guatemala’s Semana Santa (Holy Week) (Photo internet reproduction)

GUATEMALA

In 2022, tourism from Germany to date meant 17,350 visitors to Guatemala.

Visitors from the German market had an average stay of 11.31 days and spent an average of US$119.32 per day, generating approximately US$23.41 million for the Central American economy.

The celebration of Holy Week fills the streets of Guatemala with traditions that combine Christian roots, ancestral customs, and manifestations of faith, allowing the fusion of culture and mysticism.

The scent of incense and corozo, the bright colors of the carpets, the music, and the costumes make Semana Santa a unique event in the world, of interest to both national and international visitors.

For this reason, Semana Santa has declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2022.

El Salvador has increased tourism thanks to world-class surf tournaments significantly (Photo internet reproduction)

EL SALVADOR

From January to December 2022, El Salvador recorded 8,136 travelers from Germany, a 90% increase compared to the 4,260 tourists from the German market who visited the Land of Waves in 2019.

Getting to El Salvador from Europe is easy.

The airline IBERIA flies directly, connecting San Salvador with Madrid.

Currently, 14 commercial airlines offer flights to more than 15 countries and 30 destinations in the Americas and Europe.

Multidestination is an important feature for El Salvador, as direct flights are available from its airport to other destinations in Central America and the Dominican Republic.

El Salvador has increased tourism thanks to world-class surf tournaments significantly.

For example, the World Surf League (WSL) will host two world-class events this year in La Libertad, with its spectacular waves.

In total, El Salvador will host six international surf tournaments this year, which will attract numerous tourists.

In addition, El Salvador has also been selected to host Miss Universe 2023, an event that will put the country in the spotlight.

This is proof of the excellent tourism boom that El Salvador is currently experiencing.

the paradisiacal island of Roatán, famous for its white sand beaches and a sanctuary for marine life as part of the second largest reef reserve in the world (Photo internet reproduction)

HONDURAS

Honduras, with its Caribbean islands, natural experiences, archaeology, and colonial and religious history, offers a tourist offer for all travelers.

The country is accelerating its tourism recovery, and visitor arrivals to Honduras reached 1.6 million visitors in January-November 2022.

According to estimates from the Honduran Institute of Tourism Statistics, this figure represents an increase of 168.2% compared to visitor arrivals during the same period in 2021 (617,543 visitors).

Honduras is becoming an attractive destination for the European, South American, and regional markets, and by 2023 these numbers can be increased.

Crucial to this is, among other things, the increased air connections to Honduras.

Iberojet, the airline of Ávoris Corporación Empresarial, inaugurated its first direct flight from Madrid to Palmerola International Airport in Comayagua, Honduras, on Dec. 14.

This is the only direct flight from Europe to Palmerola International Airport with two weekly frequencies (Wednesday and Saturday) throughout the year.

With this flight, Iberojet aims to diversify its range of destinations and offer the European market, which flies directly from Spain, the opportunity to discover Honduras with its tropical jungle, Mayan culture, and Caribbean regions, such as the paradisiacal island of Roatán, famous for its white sand beaches and a sanctuary for marine life as part of the second largest reef reserve in the world.

Another direct connection to Madrid via San Pedro Sula is offered by Air Europa twice weekly.

In Río San Juan, the Solentiname Archipelago was the most visited place (Photo internet reproduction)

NICARAGUA

The land of lakes and volcanoes rates its tourism as successful and dynamic at year-end and early 2022.

Corn Island in the southern Caribbean also saw increased visitor numbers and hotel occupancy.

In Río San Juan, the Solentiname Archipelago was the most visited place, “thanks to the new water route that the National Port Company has made possible to visit these islands in Lake Nicaragua, and El Castillo was not far behind,” says Anasha Campbell, co-director of the Nicaraguan Institute of Tourism, INTUR.

New investments in hotels such as the Hotel Grand Victoria in Rivas, a 4-star hotel with 24 rooms, 2 suites, 2 function rooms, and 1 terrace, are noteworthy in tourism.

La Santa Maria Resort is a 5-star San Juan del Sur resort with 5 condominiums and townhouses.

Gran Pacifica Resort, a luxury residential community with a golf course and eco-friendly townhouses, is 45 minutes from Managua.

L’ever Hotel, the first 4-star hotel in the country’s north, Somoto, Madriz, has 24 rooms.

Nicaragua is easily accessible by sea, land, and air with daily flights from Spirit Airlines, United Airlines, American Airlines, Aero Mexico, Copa Airlines, Avianca, and Sansa, allowing the arrival of more international tourists from Germany, Spain, the United Kingdom, France, and Italy, as well as from the North and Central American region.

New tourism developments include Hotel La Compañía, the first hotel from The Unbound Collection by Hyatt portfolio in Central America (Photo internet reproduction)

PANAMA

From January to November 2022, Panama recorded 1,696,921 visitors, 162.2% more than in 2021, or 1,049,649 more visitors than in 2021.

From January to November 2022, Panama recorded the arrival of 25,537 travelers from Germany.

New tourism developments include Hotel La Compañía, the first hotel from The Unbound Collection by Hyatt portfolio in Central America to open in Panama’s Old Town, or Sofitel Legend Casco Viejo.

As for air connections, Turkish Airlines has increased its flights to Panama.

Since October 30, Turkish Airlines has connected Tocumen International Airport in Panama City with Istanbul International Airport thrice a week.

Eurowings Discover, part of the Lufthansa Group, operates the only nonstop service between Germany and Panama, the main hub in Central America, with three flights a week (Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays) and year-round use of Airbus A330-200 and A330-300 aircraft.

According to the British aviation analysis company Official Airline Guide (OAG), Tocumen International Airport is the ninth most punctual airport in the world and the second most punctual in Latin America.

The company identified the world’s most punctual airports and airlines as part of its 2023 Punctuality League.

The Bahia Principe Hotels & Resorts hotel chain opened its renovated Cayo Levantado Resort hotel on June 1, 2023 (Photo internet reproduction)

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

The Dominican Republic recorded 7,165,387 passengers from January to December 2022.

Punta Cana International Airport (PUJ) reached a record 8 million passengers in one year, becoming the first airport in the country to achieve this figure.

Regarding tourism development, AMR Collection in the Dominican Republic achieved first place in the TOP + Americas 2022 ranking based on policies, practices, and various special programs developed by the hotel company.

The ranking, in which AMR Collection ranked first for the fifth time, evaluates 12 key factors for good management, such as leadership, organizational dynamics, resilience, employee identification with the company, and job growth.

The Bahia Principe Hotels & Resorts hotel chain opened its renovated Cayo Levantado Resort hotel on June 1, 2023.

Reservations have been open since Dec. 1, 2022, for stays that will be available from Jun. 1, 2023.

The country has begun work in Samaná with more than RD$270 million investment.

It has also announced the construction of two hotels in Pedernales.

The country has also presented a master plan for the Punta Bergantín project, which includes the development of hotels, real estate, cinema, and innovation in Puerto Plata.

AIR CONNECTIONS TO CENTRAL AMERICA

European airlines such as Air France, KLM, British Airways, Lufthansa, and Iberia, flying from Paris, Amsterdam, London, Frankfurt, and Madrid, offer direct flights to Central America (Panama, Costa Rica, El Salvador, and Guatemala) and have excellent connections to the other Central American capitals through various intra-regional flights.

British Airways flies directly from London to San José, Costa Rica; Iberia flies from Madrid to El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Panama, and the Dominican Republic; Lufthansa flies from Frankfurt to Panama City and Condor from Munich and Frankfurt to Costa Rica; KLM from Amsterdam to Panama City.

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