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Strengthening the capacities of Nicaraguan Tour operators

Clementine Haudecoeur | Nov 27, 2015

Graduate students. | Photographer: Jonathan Moreno Nuñez

First graduates of the Strategic Marketing and Touristic Management Program in the UCA.

Nicaraguans are betting on the development of sustainable tourism. We can affirm that seeing the number of projects implemented in that sector over the last few years. But Nicaragua is going further than just implementing touristic projects by investing in the education of the professionals from the sector.

One of the strong initiatives going this way is the creation of a new graduate program in “Strategic Marketing and Touristic Management” in the University of Centro America (UCA) in Managua. In fact, this month the first promotion of this program graduated. The group was made up of employees from Nicaraguan tour operators who had been selected to strengthen their capacities as agents of sustainable tourism development, in the departments Chinandega, León, Managua, Granada, Masaya and Rivas.

This project was designed by the Nicaraguan Institute of Tourism (INTUR), the Nicaraguan Association of Tour Operators (ANTUR / ATORNIC) and the UCA, with support from experts from the sector. The challenge was to succeed in making a difference finding ways to impulse the socio-economic development of the poorer communities of the country through the development of different types of tourism: cultural, adventure, nature and rural.

This 9-months program was developed implementing participatory methods of learning by experience and had 4 academic modules:
1. Introduction to marketing
2. Development of touristic products
3. Strategic and Operative Marketing Plan
4. Communication strategy and advertisement

Out of the 25 enrolled students, only 15 graduated from the program which shows that the graduated professionals had to put a lot of commitment into their studies to be able to leave with the market and communication plans of their tour operators. Some students told us that one of the major thing they learned throughout all those months together is that instead of competing with one another, they can from alliances in order to project themselves better and thus strengthen each other. They all say it was an excellent professional experience.

Finally, it is important to underline that this initiative was developed as part of the “Colonial and Volcanoes Route”, project financed by the European Union and the Government of Nicaragua, executed by INTUR, with technical support from the Cooperation Agency of Luxembourg (LuxDev).