Nicaragua Explores Possibility of Joint Tourism Venture with Costa Rica

Nicaragua and Costa Rica both have many natural treasures that attract visitors from far and wide. These include volcanoes, tropical forests, vast lakes and an incredible variety of plant, animal and bird-life. In an effort to promote inter-country tourism, representatives from Nicaragua and Costa Rica are holding discussions with regard to the possibility of a joint tourism initiative between the two countries.

Although there are many similarities between the two countries, both with regard to their physical geography and the rich culture and hospitality of their people, in 2007 Nicaragua made around $280 million from tourism, while Costa Rica raked in around $1.9 billion from its tourist trade. Authorities believe that there is still huge potential for the development of tourism in Nicaragua and are investigating various strategies to address this.

Nicaraguan congressman and member of the country’s Parliament Tourism Commission, Carlos Noguera, revealed that a meeting to be held in the coastal town of San Juan del Sur with representatives from both countries aims to initiate a borderless bi-national tourism project. It is anticipated that Costa Rican representatives will provide insight into Costa Rica’s tourism industry, with a view to implementing similar strategies in Nicaragua.

Director for the Nicaraguan Tourism Institute, Mario Salinas, has raised the possibility of erasing boundaries between countries to present the Central American region as a single tourist destination. Ultimately he would like to see Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama co-operating in joint tourism ventures.

Although many can see the value of joint tourism for Nicaragua, some are skeptical about the role Costa Rica will be prepared to play in the venture. Ultimately each country is responsible for its own economic future and a joint tourism venture which would jeopardize a country’s current tourism income would not make sound financial sense. In the tourism partnership between Costa-Rica and Panama, both countries agreed to a joint effort of promoting the region to tourists from Europe, while leaving matters as they stand with regard to North Americans, which account for 54 percent of Costa Rica’s annual tourism figures.

Despite the reservations being expressed by some, it is generally agreed that a joint tourism initiative between Nicaragua and Costa Rica, which would offer tourists a hassle-free passage between the two countries, may provide an incentive to travelers to visit these two beautiful Central American countries, thereby benefiting both.