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Presentation of tourism development project for the Caribbean Coast

Róger Solórzano Canales | Jul 8, 2011

Representatives of the institutions involved during the conference.

Initial results and future goals of a large plan that comprises public and private sectors were described during the presentation.

The first results of a multi-sectoral project that seeks to promote sustainable development in the Nicaraguan Caribbean Coast, were presented yesterday, July 7th, during a press conference. Its representatives stated that, after a first phase that ensured good relations between all sectors involved and that identified cultural expressions, as well as a great tourism potential, the have now started a second phase that includes technical training, infrastructural improvements and planning for international promotion of the area.

With an $8 million dollars budget, given by the Spanish government, the project started on 2008 and is scheduled to finish by 2012. Its official name is "Proyecto de revitalización cultural y desarrollo productivo de la Costa Caribe Nicaragüense", and is being executed by the Nicaraguan Institute of Tourism (INTUR), the Nicaraguan Institute of Culture (INC) and the governments of the two autonomous regions in which the Caribbean Coast is currently divided. All the institutions have the support of the United Nations Organizations (ONU).

"We want to reduce inequality and maximize human development of the Caribbean indigenous communities," said Anasha Campbell, INTUR's director for the Caribbean. During the conference, Campbell was joined by:

Maria Nelly Rivas, regional coordinator for Latin America of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO);

Luz Marina Lopez, president of the tourism commission of the North Atlantic Autonomous Region (RAAN);

Sherry Wilson, responsible of tourism for the South Atlantic Autonomous Region (RAAS);

and Jamileth Rodriguez, representative of tour operators of the Caribbean Coast.

Training, projections and infrastructure

"Tourism is starting in our region. There was a previous empirical work, but we are getting training and support now," said Luz Marina Lopez. Sherry Wilson, its Southern neighbor, stated: "We invite everyone to learn about us (the Caribbeans), our dances, languages, food (...) to enjoy the smell of coconut abounding everywhere."

Several improvements were discussed by the expositors as well. One of the most important, which is being developed these days, is the meeting of six Caribbean tour operators with their counterparts from the Pacific region, who work with three destinations of great importance: Granada, Ometepe and San Juan del Sur. The main idea is to learn about planning, but also to establish business relations to start working together. The meetings, which include the participation of government representatives, will later be organized with Central American tour operators.

The expositors also mentioned that Caribbean empirical guides are being trained by the National Autonomous University of Nicaragua (UNAN), located in Managua. Later on, the courses will be given in regional Caribbean universities. Their goal is to have 90 certified guides.

Other relevant accomplishments are related to the research field. A mapping process was held to get a diagnose of the Caribbean cultures, which allowed the identification of several tourism products. Furthermore, seven circuits of great potential were established: four of them in RAAS and the remaining three in RAAN. With all this accomplishments, the project will develop an international and national communication strategy.

Representatives also talked about restorations projects developed at the central parks of the cities of Bluefields and Bilwi, the capital cities of the Nicaraguan autonomous regions. The work that is being done at Awas (Pearl Lagoon) and the construction of a pier at El Cocal (RAAN) were also discussed during the conference.

Translated by Cinthia Membreño