Nicaragua hopes to grow in post-Coronavirus era
The Central American country is characterized by being a green and not a massive destination, two aspects highly valued in the new normal
Different studies have highlighted that travelers are looking not only for nearby destinations with good health infrastructure, they also highly value sustainable and non-massive ones. In this context, Nicaragua is one of the countries that has the best chance of growing exponentially. To better understand its current status and future plans, we exclusively interviewed Ms. Ana Carolina García Tijerino, Director of Promotion and Marketing at the Nicaraguan Institute of Tourism. We share the responses below:
How many tourists have arrived in Nicaragua in 2019 and what is the trend once international visitor arrivals resume?
In the course of 2019, the arrival in Nicaragua received the amount of 1,454,504 tourists, increasing by 3% according to what was received in 2018.
Given the world-wide events caused by the Covid-19 health crisis, it is estimated that the flow of international tourists will begin to recover gradually, since according to projections, market studies carried out, it is expected that the resumption process will begin with trips to Nearby destinations and short flight times, which is why it is expected to receive mainly tourists from the neighboring countries of Central America, due to the facilities distance from land borders and flights that vary between approximately 1 to 2 hours.
Which issuing markets are the leaders in the ranking?
Mainly the Central American market, being Costa Rica, Honduras and El Salvador the main countries, followed by the North American market led by the United States and later the European market mainly Spain and Germany followed by France and England.
Until the health crisis erupted, in which countries were you paying the most attention to promotional actions and which will be your priorities from now on?
Our promotional actions were carried out in priority markets of particular regions, being LATAM and the Caribbean, mainly in the countries of Central America also taking into account Cuba, Colombia, Argentina and the Dominican Republic, North America focused on the United States and Canada and in Europe, It carried out a greater emphasis on actions in the countries of Spain, Germany, England and a lower percentage in the number of shares in France and Italy.
Once the first phases of tourism recovery have been completed and taking into account the studies carried out by tourism entities at the international level, it is considered to initially promote internal tourism and later regional tourism aimed at the markets closest to the country, taking into account In the Central American region, where they are short flights and have easy access by sea and land, more aggressive promotional campaigns will be carried out in the priority markets of North America and Europe to encourage tourists to travel as the flows of flights.
Which tourism segment is most important to you?
Given the characteristics of the country and the offer it presents, it is considered that the most important segments are Nature, Sun and Beach, Adventure, Colonial Cities and Culture.
How do you describe Nicaragua's tourism offer?
Nicaragua has a very varied tourist offer, mainly characterized by being a nature destination, given its geography, which has a large number of nature reserves or protected areas (75), large lagoons and lakes and a wide range of both active and inactive volcanoes (26) that contribute to the development of a number of ecotourism and adventure activities, also being a multi-ethnic and multicultural country, its rich history and traditions have colonial cities, picturesque towns for the enjoyment of visitors and above all the idiosyncrasy of the Nicaraguan, who is characterized by his kindness and hospitality.
Likewise, due to its central location and warm climate, Nicaragua has beautiful beaches in the Pacific, which are optimal for sports activities such as surfing and cycling; On the coasts of the Caribbean, our beaches are characterized by white sand and crystal clear waters, which you can enjoy 365 days a year, this is a fortress that turns the country into a destination with a wide natural and indigenous tourist offer to carry out activities according to the needs of the tourist.
Although connectivity is still a mystery, until the borders were closed, which airlines had flights to Nicaragua? And what is your vision once the borders are opened?
Currently, Nicaragua has a total of 11 airlines that connect to different priority markets, some with direct flights and others by stops, mainly the following can be mentioned: American Airlines, Copa, Avianca, Conviasa, United Airlines, Spirit and Aeroméxico.
Once the borders restart their operations, it is expected that the income of tourists will gradually increase, likewise, as the airlines increase the frequency of flights and restore connections between different destinations. Also supported with the campaigns that will be carried out to ensure the well-being and health of all tourists who visit us.
Taking into account that the management of the health crisis and the health infrastructure have become a breaking point for choosing a destination, how do you think Nicaragua will be positioned when the international tourism operations are reactivated?
It is estimated that it is positive since Nicaragua is characterized by being a green and not a massive destination, where most of the activities carried out are linked to nature, where tourists who visit us will be able to enjoy fresh air and the tranquility of the different destinations without worrying about being in contact with more people in closed places or with many large buildings or tourist complexes around them, given that the country does not have mass tourism, which helps to comply with all the recommended measures such as example distance between people.