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Nicaragua Growing Rural Tourism Base

Article Summary:

The goal is to reach 150,000 rural tourism visitors in 2012, with the expectation of continued growth in the coming years, say Nicaraguan tourism officials, who have prepared draft legislation to bring guidelines to the sector and actions for sustainable growth.

Photo Credit: Prensa Nicaragua

Original Article Text From Prensa Nicaragua via Google Translate :

Growing Rural Tourism

When foreign aid workers arrived in Nicaragua in the eighties to work with farmers in the coffee harvest, no one imagined that, somehow, to coexistence between foreigners and peasants was born a new form of tourism in the country: community-based tourism, which until 2008 would be recognized as such and is now an industry that is growing by leaps and bounds.

In the first quarter of this year were made 16.852 visits to such initiatives, much higher than the 11.235 that were reported in 2011.

Harold Ramos, president of the Nicaraguan Network of Rural Community Tourism (Renitural), said this development was first noted in 2005 when “the Dutch SNV Cooperation Service did a study in which there were 219 people who directly visited tourism initiatives rural community. In 2007 they decided to do an analysis and surprisingly rural community tourism grew to more than 5,000 visits.

This has been due in part to the birth of Renitural, which was devoted to strengthening and promotion of rural community tourism. “We started promoting, organizing, training initiatives and cooperation agencies to the issue of poverty reduction become interested in this area,” said Ramos.

In 2009 the Nicaraguan Institute of Tourism (Intur) reported this activity as the main tool for reducing poverty and in the same year the World Tourism Organization conducted an analysis of the sector and there was a great discovery: they had over 27,000 visits rural community tourism initiatives.

Finally in 2010 the World Tourism Organization, the Italian Cooperation and Intur Renitural make a final study of a project called agritourism farms in Nicaragua and concluded that there are more than 100,000 people who opt for this type of tourism.

MOST ARE NATIONAL
Contrary to what you may think, not only foreigners prefer this option for tourism. Ramos said 60 percent of visitors are domestic and 40 percent foreigners, mostly from Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, United States, Canada, Spain, France and Italy.

Leopoldo Flores Lovo, Total Package Tours, says “rural community tourism has grown because the tourist demand other offers, Granada, Leon, the sun and sand tourism of San Juan del Sur and is something that is very demanding and tourists want an experience more closely with the Nicaraguan people and the weather, looking as fresh as the mountain. ”
CHALLENGES
Flores Lovo said that work is needed on access to areas where rural tourism is offered, because “there are communities that have pretty attractive, but the roads hamper on arrival, especially in winter, but despite that leaves tourists satisfied because is something that is passed from mouth to mouth and so it is reaching people because they are also safe places. ”

Leonardo Torres, president of the Nicaraguan Chamber of Small and Medium Business Tourism (Cantur) states that “Nicaragua has a high potential for this type of tourism and we must learn to take, as our southern neighbors,” but matches Lovo flowers that are needed to improve conditions, access roads as much care in the surrounding areas.

He added that the country should give a new twist to rural tourism, because the international tourist and not very interested in sun and beach, but to live with nature and with the experiences of places, such as milking cows see or walk.

For this year, according to Renitural, the goal is to reach 150.000 visits, and with the expectation of continued growth in the coming years.

PREPARE DRAFT BILL OF RURAL TOURISM
Julio Ruiz, Rural Inns body, believes that “the sector is not yet formed,” and should be declared of public interest in the National Assembly “in order to benefit from the authorities.”

Part of that response to industry demands would be giving a law governing the rural tourism. Argeñal Caesar, director of management and development of MSMEs tourist Nicaraguan Institute of Tourism (Intur), explained that the institution prepares the draft bill of rural tourism, which “will bring the guidelines” sector and “the actions to be taken “for sustainability.

The initiative began last November made and expect to be presented to the Assembly in two or three months.

Link to Original Article:

From Prensa Nicaragua

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