INTUR Tourism Plans for 2008

With the Pacific Ocean to the west, the Caribbean Sea to the east, the largest freshwater lake in Central America, volcanoes, mountain ranges, cloud forests, rainforests, abundant bird and animal life and more, Nicaragua is a country of great beauty and contrasts with much to offer tourists. Recognizing the value of the increasingly popular concept of eco-tourism, close to 20% of the country’s territory has been designated as protected areas and includes nature reserves, national parks and biological reserves. The Nicaraguan Tourism Institute (INTUR) is engaged in extensive plans for developing tourism during 2008.

Due to a period of unrest in the country in the past, tourists often still have the misconception that Nicaragua is not safe. Although sixteen years ago this may have been the case, that time has passed, and Nicaragua is now considered to be one of the safest holiday destinations in Central America. INTUR is working at overcoming any negative perceptions and will be participating in more than two dozen tourism fairs in North America, Europe and Central America to bring to the world’s attention that Nicaragua is a great place to visit.

Tourism Minister, Mario Salinas, is working towards the integration of Central America, where travelers will be permitted to fly anywhere within Central America without having to go through customs. He believes that the development and promotion of tourism will go a long way toward achieving that goal.

Other plans for tourism development in 2008 include government finance for 200 small and medium-sized tourism-related businesses to be established in rural regions throughout Nicaragua, as well as the training of 370 tourist guides and more than 500 tourism police. INTUR is planning a joint-initiative with Nicaragua’s National Technological Institute (INATEC) to train 425 current employees at small and medium-sized businesses in customer services and English courses at locations throughout the country.

An initiative known as the “Hacienda Route” is being investigated. This will consist of a network of rural tourism locations which will invite visitors to experience the Nicaraguan lifestyle by staying on a working plantation or family ranch. Additionally, several world-class resorts are being developed in Nicaragua and a group of Spanish investors are considering making major investments in tourism along the Caribbean coast. INTUR sees this as a sign that the tourism market in Nicaragua is maturing.

With all the tourism plans on the cards for 2008, there are high hopes by all concerned that 2008 will see record numbers of tourists exploring the wonders of Nicaragua.