Support for exports
Central American small and medium enterprises may soon improve their ability to export products and services, thanks to a proposal, which involves the Central American Economic Integration System, the Secretariat for Central American Tourism Integration, and the Spain-SIECA Fund.
The plan aims to promote access to the regional market for small and medium enterprises, including a the slogan "Central America: so small, so big".
The project seeks to improve the competitiveness of the region's small businesses, largely through technical support and training services.
Part of the project is aimed specifically at the tourism sector.
Tourism is one of the largest economic activities in the world, generating 9 percent of the world's GDP and 6 percent of global trade, said SITCA executive secretary Anasha Campbell.
Central American tourism last year generated $16 billion, with benefits widely distributed throughout the region.
El Salvador expects a 5 percent growth in the number of visitors for 2014, a figure that represents 1.9 million tourists and spending of $1.1 billion.
Panama's tourism authority (only in Spanish) has started to promote specialized sectors, such as gastronomic, sustainable and agricultural tourism, taking advantage of its wildlife and coffee-growing regions.
Nicaragua in November stepped up efforts to attract visitors, taking part in the World Travel Market in London.
One of its routes, known as "The best of Nicaragua," was recently certified by global travel firm Thomas Cook.
For its part, Honduras has seen an increase in the number of Canadian tourists, as airlines add flights between both countries.
Honduras' tourism authority expects some 17,000 Canadians to visit the country this year.
Last September, the Taiwanese government gave the SIECA the second of four installments, to finance a regional tourism integration program.