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Tourism is in critical situation in Nicaragua

RedaciĆ³n ViaNica | Jul 31, 2018

A pro bishops demonstration in Managua last July 28. | Photographer: Róger Solórzano Canales

The country is the same tropical paradise, but insecurity often persists.

The tourism industry in Nicaragua is facing a critical situation during the last three month. There is a dramatic decrease both in foreigners tourist visits as in the domestic tourism dynamics. Dozens of tourism businesses -big, medium, small and micro- have closed operations due to the lack of demand. Even, in some cities and communities like Granada, Masaya and Leon, some hotels, restaurants or tourism attraction sites have been burnt down or plundered.

Nicaragua is still in a social and political crisis. It started last April, and have become worst since then. Murders, violent disruption of peaceful demonstrations, arson attacks, looting, road blockage and other situation which activate danger warnings all over the country since April 18.

Nevertheless, it is still possible to travel and enjoy the country if detailed precaution is guaranteed, and preferable with a local person or business assistance.

The impact on the industry

More than one thousand tourism business have closed operation in the country during the crisis, according to official data. This represent a third of the offer for the hotels, restaurants, tour-operators, car rental and local guide sector. The most of them are waiting for a more appropriate moment to re-start operations.

Foreigner visitors arrival into the international airport have decreased around 50%. Although there is still no official info about the arrivals in land border, the tourism attractions al over the country looks empty. There are almost none visitors.

Green mountains and country side are there. Colonial cities have received small infrastructure damage. Volcanoes and island are always stunning. What is needed are the conditions to offer a safe service.

Recently, Nicaragua was attracting tourists because of the public security, which was an added value to natural and cultural richness in this country. But public security collapsed, as the government prioritized force and military attacks against opponents, instead of negotiation and conversation.

By the end of July, around 400 assassinations caused by the crisis are reported by human rights national and international organizations. More than 2 thousand people are injured by gunshot, and more than about a thousands people are detainees or disappeared. All of this due to a continued repression denounced by the Organization of American States as “serious human rights violations”.

Several foreigners affair ministry from important tourism market countries in the Americas and Europe have activate travel warning for Nicaragua. In an extreme level, countries like the United States and Spain also suggested their citizen to leave the country.

Violence and confrontation situations

Repression is employed by illegal armed and hooded civilian groups acting together with the police. Nicaragua is in a virtual state of emergency --not officially declared. This hooded and extremist force and the police have been acting against demonstrators all over the country. The people in cities and villages have recorded and share or live streaming --from the inside of their houses or any hidden point-- armed attacks, violent arrests, raids into private houses and churches. The hooded and armed groups and the police also recorded them self --and share on social media-- dancing with their guns a pro-president song.

The government call “terrorista” and “golpistas” (from coup-d’etat) all their opponents. People is still disappearing or arrested by the hooded groups in the streets or their homes. However, streets demonstration continue on the street all over the country. Even the bishops have been called "golpistas" by president Daniel Ortega.

Currently there are no more road blockage, as the “tranques” (road blockage in protest) and the neigborhoods barricade received armed attack and were dismantled. For this, the government deployed an operation call “caravana de la paz” (peace convoy), formed by dozen of pick-up with hooded armed civilian groups, police patrol and anti-riot forces, and bulldozers.

There is any reported attack against tourists. However, the crisis continues and that should be taken into account. The political party in the government ordered a “self-defense” attitud in their supporters (which means autonomy for any military action). So, violence could strike at time and place.

Traveling to Nicaragua is currently possible. If you would like to proceed, we recommend to find a local friends or a local company which could assist you to move inside the country and avoid risks. We will up date information soon.