Lonely Planet Writer

NASA satellite images show tourism impact on Honduran island

Satellite images from NASA show the impact of tourism on a small island off the coast of Honduras as tourism grew from hundreds of visitors a year to more than a million in less than half a century.

NASA satellite images show changed from tourism on Honduran island.
NASA satellite images show changed from tourism on Honduran island. Image by NASA Earth Observatory

Roatán, located off the northern coast of the Central American country, has become a popular tourist destination, with the number of visitors rising from around 900 in 1970 to 100,000 in 2000, and more than one million by 2010, writes NASA Earth Observatory writer Adam Voiland in a blog post. Side-by-side satellite images that show the visible expansion of development on the island, which is attributed to a great increase in cruise ships visiting the island, and a large increase in locals. The images show the island in February 1985 and on February 2015.

Roatán is the most developed of the Bay Islands and is popular for snorkelling and diving as most of its coast is lined with a coral reef. It also features white-sand beaches, mountains and beautiful terrain. The images show how developed areas have increased, and where new cruise ship terminals and a luxury golf course have been built. While some areas have seen rapid development of commercial tourism, there have also been laws put into place that protect areas of the reef as a marine sanctuary.

See the images and read the full post here.