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"Destinos con Sabor" launched in Leon

Frank Hoekman | Dec 7, 2011

Nelson Porta and Julio Videa give certificates to restaurateurs.

Seven restaurants were chosen to participate in this program, which is organized by INTUR.

On Wednesday, November 30, the Nicaraguan Institute of Tourism (INTUR) held the third launch ceremony of "Destinos con Sabor" in the department of Leon. During the event, organizers explained that their goal is to preserve national dishes and support local restaurants, so they can improve the quality and variety of their offer.

Julio Videa, Marketing Director of INTUR, was in charge of explaining the concept of the program. Videa stated that the Nicaraguan gastronomical offer is one of the main strengths of the country when it comes to sell it as a tourist destination. "There is a variety of traditional dishes, desserts and drinks that need to be promoted and included in our menus," he said.

According to Videa, "Destinos con Sabor" is available for two forks (and over) national restaurants. More than 30 local establishments were registered for this program and visited by the Nicaraguan chef Nelson Porta, so that organizers could classify them and offer them a loan. Seven were chosen to participate in the first phase and the rest have to fulfill an improvement plan in order to be part of the second phase.

The chosen restaurants have been classified as members of the Ruta del Sabor (Flavor Route), a circuit of excellence promoted by INTUR. The restaurateurs will get funds for infrastructural improvement, training and counseling. Each of them have also gotten a corporate image manual to support their promotion strategy and brand positioning. Furtheremore, these restaurants are participating in a Mexican certification program called Moderniza, which provides training in different topics.

An important component of Destinos con Sabor is a funding program offered by INTUR together with the cooperative Alba - Caruna, which is offered to small Nicaraguan tourist businesses. Julio Videa declared that restaurant owners get loans with low interest rates (8%). These loans range from 2 thousand to 100 thousand dollars and are given after the fulfillment of the recommendations given by INTUR.

There is going to be an advertising campaign promoting the restaurants from Leon that recently classified. The same was done with all the establishments from Masaya and Granada in the last couple of months. In January, Destinos con Sabor will be launched in Carazo, where 11 restaurants are already registered. The goal is that at least 60% of the national restaurants participate in the first phase of the program and that, by the second phase, the program reaches 100% of the total amount of restaurants that are currently registered on INTUR's data base.

Translated by Cinthia Membreño