Roatan Tourism Bureau
ABOUT ROATAN TOURISM BUREAU
The Roatan Tourism Bureau (RTB) is a private, Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), which aims to encourage and promote the vitality & growth of Roatan's tourism industry. Promoting Roatan, as a premier travel island destination (both domestically & internationally) is at the center of the Bureau's principal focus.
The Roatan Tourism Bureau creates and implements sales, advertising, promotional, and public relations activity to encourage and increase vacation, business, conference, and incentive travel to Roatan. The Bureau's also assists in the development of nature-based, historical, and cultural tourism. Further still, Roatan's Tourism Bureau leverages funds appropriated by private sector contributions, to enable and greatly enhance the promotion of Roatan tourism' prospects and assets.
Learn your way around Mahogany Bay & Roatan's Port. Keep up with cruise ship schedules & more.
Flights schedule vary from our high and low seasons. Keep up with the latest arrival times into Roatan.
Roatan has a resort for you. Let us propose and coordinate your next Roatan stay today.
Shopping in Roatan gets more diverse each year. Get a sense of the retail centers around Roatan.
There is no doubt that Scuba diving in Roatan's is a main attraction. Here are the top dive operators.
Pairing up with the right tour guide can define your trip. Here is a list of experienced tour guides.
From popular destinations like West Bay to culture-rich Punta Gorda, we'll help you get there.
We'll have your gear ready for you when you arrive. Let us help you find the right rental gear.
Our members can help you get around Roatan. They are among the best taxi operators.
WELCOME TO ROATAN!
Thank you for your interest in the Roatan Tourism Bureau (RTB). Over the past few years, we have made great strides towards making Roatan’s Tourism Bureau as a meaningful organization. The organization has matured with regular meetings, action plans, and accountability. The attached packet will list some of the Bureau’s recent accomplishments. There are four membership levels from which you can determine what best fits your business or personal need. You can be assured that the dues, at whatever level, will be judiciously applied to activities and programs to encourage tourism on Roatan and benefit all businesses. We look forward to your becoming an important part of the Tourism Bureau!
Our mission as the Roatan Tourism Bureau (RTB) is to promote tourism and private investment in Roatan and its surrounding islands. Further, we aim to support local health organizations, education efforts, and other community-centric programs which might come together to make a better Roatan.
The Roatan Tourism Bureau (RTB) is committed to providing quality services to travelers through its members. For this reason, we are committed to sourcing and maintaining industry-leading service providers and operators. Our goals are to brand and further the agenda of our members who will, in turn, bring the best experiences to those visiting our beautiful Roatan Island.
- ZOLITUR accreditation was re-enlisted
- Worked with Immigration to improved wait times
- Housed and transported interim immigration agents
- Established airport volunteer greeting program
- Secured Key industry domain names for members
- Worked with Institute of Tourism (IHT) to raise funds
- Deployed Online Magazine for member benefit
- Revamped website URL: “RoatanTourismBureau.com”
- Hired local talent to organize local tourism activities.
MEMBER BENEFITS INCLUDE
- Lobbying national institutions such as Zolitur
- Through the Bureau, a seat on the Zolitur's board
- Representation at local Airport
- Business brochure distribution at airport Kiosk
- Business listing on Roatan Visitor Guides
- Marketing materials on local forums & conventions
- Business listing on website directories
- Social Media exposure
- Quick access to information from Canaturh
ROATAN TOURISM BUREAU ACTIVITIES:
- Coordinate media marketing to consumers, both domestically and internationally.
- Coordinate with international travel broadcasters and writers and produces print & broadcast promotions.
- Interface with professional travelers and consumers.
- Maintain International representation in the United States, Europe, Canada, Latin America, & the Caribbean.
- Compile Roatan's official air and cruise ship visitor inbound numbers and tracks tourism trends
- Manage local operations around welcome centers and main ports of entry.
Sun & Beach
SUN AND BEACH DESTINATION
The Roatan Tourism Bureau characterizes Roatan mainly as being a "Sun and Beach" type of tourism and a "Nature and adventure." For the "Sun and Beach" type of tourism, Roatan offers unbeatable beaches and lush coastal vegetation, coral reefs, dive sites, and seascapes. These all come together to provide an attractive (and different) aquatic experience. Aquatic activities include sailing and fishing, but it is diving that is the most attractive for tourists and residents.
Nature & Adventure
NATURE AND ADVENTURE DESTINATION
The "Nature and Adventure" type of tourism is based on an appreciation of existing nature such as mountain climbing, hiking, bird watching, and among other things, horseback riding. The average tourist stays in Roatan is between 10 to 11.1 nights, per stay. Each stay cost an average of 656.3 dollars.
Tourism in Roatan is centered on the richness of its marine biodiversity. For this reason, protecting and preserving the area through education and enforcement. In addition to Roatan's biodiversity, conservation efforts should extend the physical attributes to include cultural and historic riches captured in Roatan's local communities.
There are efforts to diversify the main touristic attractions of Roatan and the surrounding region. The touristic expansion will almost certainly tap into the talent and history of local cultures. There is also potential in for tourism in the historical and archaeological sites found in Roatan, Guanaja and Utila.
There an estimated 55 diving centers registered in Roatan and its surrounding areas. Approximately 34 of these dive centers are on Roatan Island, 16 in Utila, and there are just over 5 in the Island of Guanaja. Unfortunately, not all dive centers have official registration and training workshops to integrate standards of good diving practices (Drysdale 2011). This is quickly changing with more and more dive centers registered as either PADI or SSI dive centers.
TOURISM, A RESOURCE WITH POTENTIAL
Tourism is the most important economic input for in Roatan and the Bay Islands of Honduras. Tourism activity has boomed in recent years. This has been especially true since the international airport was built and since the cruise ship, ports were established. An estimated there was an arrival of 1.6 million tourists visits Roatan each year. That number is only increasing from one year to the next.
While tourism to the area of the Bay Islands and tourism to Roatan grows each year, there have been years in which the global stage has seen an economic downtown, which has translated to a lower number of tourist visiting Roatan. Another reason why visitors to Roatan might consider postponing their trip is disease related. We saw a decline in visitors when the worldwide outbreak of influenza (H1N1) outbreak (Tourism Statistics Bulletin, IHT, 2005-2009).
Despite the downturn in 2009, Honduras managed to generate 616 million dollars worth of tourism that year. General figures show that 51% of visiting tourist enter the country terrestrially. The remaining 45% fly into the country through one of three main international airports including the Roatan International Airport (RTB). Conservative estimates indicate that 50,455 visitors will fly into the Roatan each year. By contrast, 140,029 visitors will come by way of an ocean ferry from La Ceiba, Honduras. The bulk of the tourist will arrive on the Island of Roatan via Cruise Ship. Roatan received well over 800,000 tourists each year. These visitors will arrive in either Mahogany Bay, or they will port in Coxen Hole's Cruise Port. Pasta data indicates that 90% of the cruise travelers to Roatan disembark their ship, while 67% leave the port area. By any measure, Roatan sees the majority of its economic input from Cruise ships. Cruise ships arrivals have increased significantly over the past decade. Roatan saw an increase in cruise tourists of more than 1,400% between 2002 and 2010 (Taylor and Filipski 2010). Of the mentioned tourists, according to the IHT, 46.3% come from Central America, 39.4% from the United States, 10.1% from Europe and 4.2% from the rest of the world (idem).
Roatan Marine Park
Locations & Limits
- Surface Area = 47,152.49
- Established in June, 1997
- Protected Zones
CATEGORY, LOCATION AND LIMITS
The Bay Islands Marine Park (Parque National Marino de las Islas de la Bahia or "PNMIB") is located in the Caribbean of Honduras and is made up of the islands of Roatan, Utila, and Guanaja. This park was created on June 7 1997, under an Executive Agreement, and subsequently, with the objective of strengthening the functioning and protection of natural resources in the area.
The marine park has a surface area of 47,152.49 ha and is made up of three parts:
- Special Marine Zone (Zona Especial Marina "ZEM"): This area extends from the High Tide Line to the level curve of 60 m deep in the sea. This, in turn, is divided into 5 zones: ZPEM, ZRP, ZR, ZDE y ZUM.
- Area of antiquity: includes the area from the 60 m depth curve to 12 nautical miles along the coast of the Guanaja Islands, Roatan and Utila, respectively. With the only exception to the south of Utila Island which extends only 6 miles longitudinally from the Key Gannon.
- ZC: which comprises the 10 m strip within the island territory counted from the High Tide Line. Politically and administratively, the park is located in 4 municipalities, each with its own respective management areas.
Bay Islands Municipalities
Within the Municipality of Roatán is presented a ZPEM: Sandy Bay - West End, a ZR: Mud Hole, two Economic Development Zones: (1) Flowers Bay - Coxen Hole and (2) French Harbor and a Zone of Use
Multiple. The Municipality of José Santos Guardiola is divided into a ZPEM: Santa Elena and Barbareta. These two Zones are Restricted to Fishing and Aquaculture: (1) Coco View and Caribbean Point, (2) Calabash Bight and New Port Royal, and three Economic Development Zones: (1) Oak Ridge, (2) Pollytilly Bight and (3) Punta Gorda.
The Municipality of Guanaja has two Special Protection Areas Marina: (1) Half Moon Cay-Southwest Cay and (2) Michael Rock, consisting of a Marina Zone of 2,703.80 ha and a Mangrove Zone of 111.85 ha. Also within the Municipality of Guanaja is the area Restricted to West End Fishing - Blue Rock Point, Three Economic Development Zones: (1) Airport - The Bight, (2) Savannah Bight (3) East End and a Multiple Use Zone of 15,534.51 ha.
Finally, the Utila Municipality has two Special Marine Protection Zones: (1) Raggedy Cay and Southwest Cay and (2) Turtle Harbor and Rock Harbor. Utila has Three Economic Development Zones: (1) Utila Town, (2) Oyster Bed Lagoon and (3) Los Cayitos; and a Multiple Use Zone.
Preserving Roatan's Biophysics
The biological and landscape richness that surrounds the Bay Islands and Roatan's Marine Park is undoubtedly one of the main
reasons behind the creation of the Park as such.
The amplitude in the conservation objects for the National System of Protected Areas and Wildlife of Honduras (Sistema Nacional de Áreas Protegidas y Vida Silvestre de Honduras "SINAPH"), encompasses a wide range of protections and conservations efforts around the biophysical resources represented by the Park. The efforts focus primarily on five main categories:
- Marine grasses.
- Coral reefs.
- Mangroves, estuaries and coastal lagoons.
- Migratory species.
- Reproduction of marine organisms.
The following is a review of the main biophysical characteristics in the framework of conservation objectives. This revision mainly comes from a synthesis of the transcendental legacy biophysical studies developed within the scope of the Bay Islands Management Plan, and also agglomerates from recent technical-scientific contributions that have been published about the biophysicists' resources of the Bay Islands.
BIODIVERSITY IN ROATAN
The biodiversity around Roatan and The Bay Islands is extensive, and its greatest wealth is found mainly in the reef ecosystem.
Based on the most reliable records, there some 666 species in and around the waters bordering Roatan & the remaining islands in The Bay Islands. Generally speaking, these species fall into the following classification groups:
- 6 species Of marine mammals
- 91 species of algae
- 15 species of phanerogamous plants
- 53 species of sponges
- 138 species of Nidaros (corals)
- 9 species of worms annelids and flatworms
- 48 pecies of mollusks
- 45 species of crustaceans
- four species of bryozoans
- 31 species of echinoderms
- 213 species of fish
- 6 species of reptiles
- 7 species of birds
- one species of protozoa
- one species of cyanobacteria
The marine-costal biological diversity of the Bay Islands is high. This is particularly true for organisms living 30 m deep in the reefs. And our estimates include the biological wealth for other important marine groups such as annelid worms, mollusks, crustaceans, and echinoderms, which contain many cryptic and nocturnal species, which are difficult to observe during daytime scuba diving expeditions. This is particularly true for species living at greater debts than allowed in recreational scuba diving.
The highest biodiversity for Reef Fish is observed on the external slopes between 8 m and 20 m depth. Another particularly important group is scleractinian corals (hard corals and reefs), of which a total of 138 are recorded, approximately 93% of those registered for all over the Caribbean. Sponges also constitute an important group from the biodiversity as well as its biomass on reefs. During the studies conducted, 51 species of sponges were identified, and it is estimated that the richness & count for this group is significantly higher. Because sponges are bioerosion agents, the group of clones is distinguished. The superabundance in certain reef areas is an indicator of disturbance of the reefs. Sponges are very sensitive to any degradation of their environment and are a good indicator of water conditions (Callyspongia plicifera, Geodia neptu).
Other sponges proliferate in areas subject to the important enrichment of organic matter (Cliona delitrix, Tedania ignis). This set of sponges can play an interesting role as indicator species. On coastlines devoid of coral reefs (e.g., southwest coast of Roatan, between West End Point and Big Cay) rocky bottoms are often occupied by flowering coral communities. These coral communities form a thin layer on the substrate, without there being a construction of a formation reef, stricto sensu. However, the biodiversity of these areas is often as high as within the bio-constructed reefs.
Flora Communities & Species
FLORA COMMUNITY & SPECIES
The Bay Islands National Marin Park (Parque National de las Islas de la Bahia "PNMIB") flora boast 97 species of algae, 4 of which are marine phanerogams. Marine phanerogam is a particular group of the benthic communities of the sedimentary bottoms. Contrary to algae regroup all the other plants that live in the sea, the phanerogams have real roots, rhizomes, leaves and produce flowers and fruits. The grasslands of the Bay Islands are mostly developed
in the lagoons, in the depressions of the rear reefs and the bottoms of the bays. Four species of marine phanerogams were identified in the coastal waters of the Bay Islands: Syringodium filiforme, Thalassia testudinum, Halophila decipiens and Halodule wrightii. The vast majority of the pastures installed in the lagoons of the Bay Islands are mixed communities. These are important species for sea turtles and manatees.
The specific richness in marine plants for the Cayos Cochinos is quite similar to that of Bouchon, which is 113 species of algae and three marine phanerogams. Some of these algae are particularly abundant on the reefs and enter severely in competition with the corals for the occupation of the substrate on the reefs of these islands.
In coastal areas, the dominant plant species are the red mangrove (Rhizophora mangle), which develops in peripheral form at the edge of the mangrove that adjoins the sea. The black mangrove (Avicennia germinans) develops in the interior of the mangrove along with white mangrove (Laguncularia racemosa) and the mangle button (Conocharpus erectus).
POPULATION (SOCIAL GROUPS)
The Department of Bay Islands is composed of three islands and several cays and islets. The area is abundant in natural wealth and resources in regards to both its marine and terrestrial attributes. In addition to environmental wealth, these islands possess an abundant cultural wealth, thanks to the different populations that inhabit the islands. The Roatan Marine Park and the surrounding area known as the Bay Islands Marine Park (Parque National Marino de las Islas de la Bahia "PNMIB"), is comprised of 12 nautical miles around these islands. And although it is a marine park, the following chapter will include socioeconomic characteristics of the populations that inhabit the islands and that interact directly with this protected area. Historically, these islands have been inhabited by diverse ethnic groups with an identity and life that have a close link with the natural environment that surrounds them. In the pre-Columbian phase, according to the archaeological record, in the Bay Islands, there is evidence of material culture (sites, traits, and vestiges) which are manifestations of the Paya or Pech culture that resided in these sectors. After the Colonial period, the process of settlement and settlement in the Bay Islands is marked by the arrival of diverse cultures, that to date, make up a cultural mosaic that characterizes the towns as being multiethnic, multilingual and multicultural.
These institutions play an important role for The Bay Islands. These organizations share in the co-management of protected areas between Municipalities and NGOs (for example, BICA), to more specific and localized work carried out by organizations with programs of equal importance, which support the conservation of marine and terrestrial biodiversity exists in this region.
Although these cultures inhabit a relatively small and geographically isolated area, by its nature of islands, there has not been a true social cohesion. There is a weak social organization, which is not beneficial to the general well-being of populations in the area. Management lacks the resources, and a real social cohesion is necessary to facilitate the processes of better community and conservation management. A well-funded organization could achieve significant results in the well-being of the communities in general.
ROATAN CONSERVATION ASSOCIATION
In the case of Roatán, there are organizations such as:
- Roatán Marine Park (RMP)
- Coral Reef Alliance & Healthy Reefs Initiative
- Municipality of Roatán
- Municipality of Santos de Guardiola
- General Directorate of Fisheries and Aquaculture (Digepesca)
- Port Captain, Tourist-Free Zone (ZOLITUR)
UTILA CONSERVATION ASSOCIATIONS
There are several institutional actors in the Bay Islands, who make an effort to work in conservation of the environmental wealth and the well-being of the communities, for example, in the case of Utila, there is the:
- Bay Islands Conservation Association (BICA-Utila)
- The Bay Islands Foundation (Iguana Station),
- Whale Shark & Oceanic Research Center
- Center for Marine Ecology (Utila Ecology)
- Utila Dive Safety & Environmental Council (UDSEC)
- The Nature Conservancy (TNC)
- Municipality of Utila Port Captain Civil Society.
GUANAJA CONVSERVATION ASSOCIATIONS
In Guanaja there is the:
- Institutional actors of the Municipality of Guanaja
- The Honduran Institute Tourism
- Port Captain Civil society.
- The Honduran Institute of Tourism
- The ICF