Arrivals continues to grow in Nicaragua
The Nicaraguan travel and tourism industry was not affected as badly as other countries in Central America by the global economic downturn. In 2009 arrivals registered growth of 9% in number of trips. In 2010 and 2011, arrivals continued to increase, with growth of 9% in number trips in both years. Even though more tourists visited the country, they tried to economise on their trips. Thus they opted for less expensive travel accommodation or stayed with friends and family. However, travel accommodation began to recover in 2010, when it registered retail value growth of 3%. This was due to the continued growth of arrivals and tourists increasingly deciding to stay in hotels or other types of travel accommodation.
Instituto Nicaraguense de Turismo engages in international promotion
The Instituto Nicaraguense de Turismo (hereafter referred to as INTUR) is in charge of promoting Nicaragua both regionally and internationally. In 2011 it successfully hosted Nicaragua’s second international tourism fair, (Fenitur) in which travel retailers and tourism companies participated. It also attended international travel and tourism fairs in new locations, such as Berlin and Moscow. The organisation also invested US$3 million in 2011 in a promotional campaign in Central America and the US.
Private tourism investments grow in Nicaragua
In 2011 several tourism investments took place in Nicaragua. New airline, Air Nicaragua, began operating flights from Managua to La Habana, Cuba, and it planned to expand its flight network to Venezuela and Mexico. Also, NH Hotel Group from Spain and Marriott Hotels from the US were considering investments of up to US$100 million in Nicaragua. The Empresa Administradora de Aeropuertos Internacionales (hereafter referred to as EAAI) invested US$7 million in the construction of a new international airport on the island of Ometepe, which will be able to receive airplanes carrying up to 42 passengers. Furthermore, two new marinas were in the process of being built in Bluefields and on the Corn Islands, with the capacity to receive up to 190 yachts.
Promotion of domestic tourism in 2011
The Government of Nicaragua made efforts to drive the growth of domestic tourism in 2011 to drive tourism during the low season for international travellers. Nicaraguans tend to travel inside the country during national holidays and school holidays. However, there are some parts of the country that they do not travel to, such as the southern part, for example the San Juan River, due to lack of information and promotional packages. Therefore, in 2011 the government suggested that travel retailers and tourism companies should offer promotions and use social media such as Facebook and Twitter to reach the population and to encourage tourism in these new locations.
Increase in tourism taxation in 2011
In 2010, the Government of Nicaragua reformed its tourism legislation in order to increase tourism taxation. The cost of the tourism card, which every visitor has to purchase upon entering the country, was increased from US$5 to US10. The government also added 2% tax on the cost of hotel rooms with a charge of over US$30 a night. It also added taxation of US$5 on all plane tickets. The revenue generated by these taxes will be used by INTUR to promote travel and tourism in Nicaragua both domestically and internationally.
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