Establishing Linkages between Garifunas Small Businesses at Bahia de Tela



Country:   HONDURAS


Current status:       Ongoing       Concluded

Duration (est.)/dates: August 2007 – December 2011

Partner entities: Instituto Hondureños de Turismo (IHT); Municipality of Tela; SNV Honduras

Source(s) of Funding: ST-EP Foundation

Executing Agency:  Instituto Hondureños de Turismo

Main project objective: to develop a Garifuna village in the Miami Tornabé community as a center of attraction for tourists and to develop business linkages with the Los Micos Beach and Golf Resort, a new tourism development project in the area, in order to enhance the income from tourism for the local population.

Tela Bay destination offers sun and sand, nature and living culture to its visitors. The destination is formed by the city of Tela and five emblematic Garifuna communities: La Ensenada, Triunfo de la Cruz, San Juan, and Miami Tornabé. The Garifuna population has been linked to tourism for several decades and commercializes various products at the local market, such as coconut-based products, cultural performances, fish and food to tourists.


Activities were based on a preliminary study that identified potential tourism products and comprised the following components:

1. Product and SME strengthening: Extensive trainings were carried out with community groups to develop cultural and artistic

products (6 months/ 30 participants/ 11 women), and with SMEs such as restaurants and small accommodations (10 months/ 116 participants/ 71 women) in business planning and management and food preparation. Various gastronomic and cultural fairs were organized.

2. Development of Tourism Information Centers (TICs): The creation of business linkages with the Resort could not be carried out due to delays in its construction. As an alternative, 2 TICs were built at La Ensenada and Tornabé and 2 toilet facilities at Tornabé and Triunfo de la Cruz were built and are managed by the local authorities.

3. Improvement of the tourism curricula: The ongoing tourism curricula  were assessed in relation to the needs of the industry and recommendations to improve the curricula were presented to the national vocational training institute.

Main project outputs/deliverables:

The offer is diversified and well presented: Four artistic groups are offering quality products to tourists and 23 SMEs are offering food, boat tours and services to hotels. These SMEs have developed business plans and introduced best practices in their management processes. The TICs are operational since mid-2010 and are distributing information on the local offer which is provided by IHT.

Tourism studies are in tune with the needs of the industry: The education institutions incorporated some of the improvements in the tourism curricula, which had been reviewed in collaboration with the private sector. A first set of courses was implemented with external funding. An on line tourism job bank was developed by the tourism authorities and is accessible at the destination website.


The project has been successful in enhancing the quality of the products offered locally and has fostered better interrelations between the small entrepreneurs, which offer is now being directly promoted at the TICs with the support of IHT.