INTUR announces 2007 - 2011 achievements
Cinthia Membreño | Dec 21, 2011
A larger amount of visitors, infrastructure improvements and a greater promotion of the country were accomplished over the past five years.
Making Nicaragua a tourist destination was, as reported by the Nicaraguan Institute of Tourism (INTUR), the primary goal with which tourism projects were developed between 2007 and 2011. The results of these plans were presented on Monday, Tuesday, December 20, during a press conference given by Mario Salinas Pasos, president of the institution.
According to Salinas, about 5 million tourists visited the country between 2007 and 2011. This annual increase created, during this same period, 140 000 new jobs (direct and indirect). Also, the revenue generated by tourism in Nicaragua was US$1, 556.2, a quantity that represents an increase of 40% compared to the previous five years.
Execution of projects
To achieve this growth, the institution implemented a variety of projects involving Nicaraguan citizens. The Coffee Route (Northern Nicaragua), the Water Route (Rio San Juan) and the Route of the Volcanoes and Colonial Cities (Pacific Region) were established to identify suitable destinations and train service providers, improving the quality of their services and the infrastructure of their establishments.
In addition, the Nicaraguan Small Hotels Network - which includes those located in remote areas - was also created. Nowadays, these hotels have an online booking system. The institution also implemented a strategy against sexual exploitation in Nicaragua. According to Mario Salinas, all the hotels registered with INTUR are committed to fight against this social issue.
Cruise ships: A new market
According to Salinas, the arrival of luxury cruise ships to Nicaraguan coasts allowed the country to have a new economic field that did not exist before. Two hundred and fifty four ships arrived to the country and brought about 231 000 new tourists.
"Nicaragua will also be part of the Mesoamerican Route, which is an effort that countries like Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala and Mexico are currently supporting, so that cruise ships visit the Pacific coast, not only the Caribbean," said Salinas.
As a result, Royal Caribbean and the Nicaraguan government had agreement that will allow to make improvements in the infrastructure of the port of San Juan del Sur. The site will be one of the many stops that these ships will make during their journey to Mexico.
Having the international promotion of Nicaragua in mind, INTUR established a series of agreements with international television programs. Reality shows like Survivor (U.S.A), The Island of the Famous (Italy) and Survivors (Spain) were filmed in different Nicaraguan locations, reaching - as a whole - 21 million viewers per episode, said Salinas.
Nicaragua also appeared in other TV shows such as "House Hunters" and "Exotic Foods", both transmitted worldwide, as well as in the film "Destination Wedding", which was produced by Paramount Pictures.
INTUR also participated in over 100 international tourism fairs, including the ones held in Venezuela, Russia, Spain and the United States. The country was promoted as a destination to discover in Central America, known for its ethnic and cultural diversity.
Results of 2011
According to Mario Salinas, the institution expects to have about 1 million 40 thousand tourists in 2011, which represent approximately 28, 249 more visitors than 2010. This is an increase of 2% over the previous year. They also expect that over 100 000 tourists visit the country in December, one of the busiest seasons of the year.
As for upcoming projects, Salinas explained that these will be shared in an official book that INTUR will launch early January 2012. This will also include the aspirations of the institution for the next five years in terms of tourism development.