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The Nicaraguan Institute of Tourism presented its achievements of 2009 | Dec 16, 2009

Mario Salinas, President of INTUR, and Julio Videa, Marketing Director.
Cinthia Membreño

The Executive President of the Nicaraguan Institute of Tourism (INTUR), Mario Salinas Pasos, presented yesterday, Wednesday, December 16, during a press conference given to the local media at Holiday Inn Select in Managua, all the achievements of the institution during 2009. Some of them were the progress of Ruta del Agua and Ruta del Café projects, the increase of tourist in the country, projects yet to develop, international and national promotion activities, the support to small companies (MIPYMES), among others.

During the conference, Salinas explained that one of INTUR´s main objectives was to improve the quality of small tourism businesses. "They negotiate and present Nicaragua in the best way, they make it attractive", he stated. To fulfill this objective a great number of activities were developed, such as the support to 60 tourism companies of the department of Río San Juan, trainings to employees, loans to small businesses of the Northern zone of the country, training of tour guides and projects to improve the infrastructure of hotel, restaurants, touroperators, and others.

Increase of tourists during 2009

According to Mario Salinas, the entrance of tourists grew 9.4%, that is 822, 740 tourists entered the country in comparison to the 751, 903 visitors of 2008. "The fact that Nicaragua has this quantity of visitors, despite the worldwide crisis, is very satisfying", he said.

The visits of tourists had different modalities. First is the arrival of 61 cruise ships to the ports of Corinto and San Juan del Sur and the visits to the tourism centers, which grew a 27%. "This sites have had improvements in their infrastructure conditions and that generated and increase on the visits", explained Salinas.

National and international promotion of the country

The Executive President of INTUR assured that another obstacle of the institution has is the lack of promotion of the country. To overcome this situation, INTUR had participated in international fairs in Europe, Asia, North America, Central America and Latin America. In addition, Nicaragua appeared as a tourist destination on 49 international publications.

Furthermore, the national promotion included press trips for local and international journalists around tourist destinations of the country. There were also massive activities such as the Aquatic Carnival of the city of San Carlos, la Aquatic Purisima at Salvador Allende Port in Managua, among others.

Ruta del Café and Ruta del Agua

The project Ruta del Agua, which aims to give an impulse to the department of Río San Juan, had improvements on the infrastructure, support to small businesses and promotion of the area, both national and international.

On the other hand, the project Ruta del Café, which covers five departments of Northen Nicaragua, has benefited 31 municipalities that now have tourism projects, thanks to the US$1,750,000 that were donated by the Duchy of Luxembourg.

Future projects of INTUR

There are three projects that the Nicaraguan Institute of Tourism will developed on 2010. The first one is the project "One product, one town (OTOP). This is a cooperation between the Nicaraguan and the Taiwanese government that will support the development of handicrafts productions and tourism in San Juan de Oriente (Masaya), Masatepe (Masaya) and San Juan de Limay (Estelí).

The second one is the solicitude to get funds for the second phase of Ruta del Café. Small business of the North zone of the country will be benefited by this project. Finally, the third one is the funds management for Ruta Colonial (literally: the Colonial Route) and Ruta de los Volcanes (the Volcanoes Route) with the European Commission.

According to Salinas, the Nicaraguan Institute of Tourism has now international credibility. This is reflected on the support that the Duchy of Luxembourg, the Swiss Agency for development and Cooperation (COSUDE), the Taiwanese government and the Inter-American Bank of Development (BID) have given to Nicaraguan tourism projects. However, Salinas still considers that it is necessary to take big steps to reach the tourism development of other countries like El Salvador and Costa Rica. "We need to sale Nicaragua, its colonial cities, volcanoes, rivers...", he stated. For him, this will only be possible with the cooperation of the public and private sector, along with the local media.

Entry of tourists during 2009

Official data given by INTUR. The tourists that enter Nicaragua are divided in the following way:

Central Americans: 60.5%

North America: 27.2%

Europe: 7.7%

South America: 2.3%