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Latin America Investment News on Viva Tropical

Nicaragua’s Leading Tourist Destination Lacks Electricity

Article Summary:

The island of Ometepe, Nicaragua’s leading tourist destination, was awarded the honor of being named as one of the new Seven Wonders of the World in 2008, and since that time, the island has experienced rapid tourism growth. Unfortunately fame has not altered the reality that the island still lacks the basics, such as permanent electricity.

Photo Credit: La Prensa Nicaragua

Original Article Text From La Prensa Nicaragua via Google Translate :

Ometepe destinations “off”

The new hub of tourism development. The emerging destination in Nicaragua. The treasure to be discovered. These are some of the phrases used to describe Ometepe, one of the main destinations that Nicaragua is promoting worldwide.

According to statistics of the Nicaraguan Institute of Tourism (Intur), last year came to the island some 60,000 visitors, of whom 40,000 were foreigners and 20,000 were domestic, exceeding the number of inhabitants, estimated at 45,000 people.

Contrary to the national trend, which indicates that 65 percent of foreign visitors arriving in the country come from Central America, the tourists will come mainly from Ometepe Europe, Asia, North America, Oceania, South America, and less of the neighboring countries.

Intur recently announced, is expected to begin in October and November to operate the Airport La Paloma, which will have a runway 1,500 meters long and 35 meters wide, capable of receiving aircraft of 56,000 pounds with a capacity of 42 passengers, which in the local tourism entrepreneurs more than joy provokes concerns.

“We have a very pretty airport, which is worth ten million dollars, but we can not keep the lights on 24 hours,” says Alvaro Montilla, Mar Dulce restaurant owner in Moyogalpa.

The tourism operators, both Moyogalpa as Altagracia,-the two municipalities where the island is divided resent the constant cuts energy in Ometepe.

Last June, according to the distributor Gas Natural, was reported 34 outages, which lasted from 18 minutes to five hours and 55 minutes. That month a total of 51 hours spent Islanders and 28 minutes without power.

“Sometimes the ferry is coming by late at night, at 7:00 pm there is no light at all the people, and that’s very bad, because it kind of image that takes the tourist,” laments Melania Avellán Arcia, owner of Aly Hotelito and Restaurant.

“In February 2011, I remember, was the lighting of Moyogalpa cut 11 days … As the input port of ninety percent of the tourists visiting the island, “adds Montilla.

For Hugo Navas, owner of a dealership of the same name in Moyogalpa, this situation is “grave”.

Navas perishable supplies and other supplies to many tourist businesses on the island and the constant cuts that causes them losses.

“The Eskimo had to remove it completely, because there were times that lost in its entirety,” he recalls.

“We’re talking about a center of tourism development and when we speak we are completely dependent on energy, completely frustrated all economic activity we can do,” says Navas, who was for years vice president of the Nicaraguan Chamber of Tourism of the Micro , Small and Medium Enterprises (Cantur).

In this agrees Cespedes Douglas, owner of the hotel and restaurant Pirates of in Altagracia, for whom the main problem facing the island to establish itself as a tourist attraction, is the constant power outage.

“The islanders have been abandoned for 3,000 years and until recently the government we are interested, who cares, because there is potential for tourism development, but a basic need: a stable power. Here the energy problem is terrible, “he says.

Where appropriate, in the nearly eight years with his business, has lost “at least five teams” that have been damaged by power cuts and low energy. Cespedes has lost refrigerators, refrigerators and stereos.

Ometepe is not part of the national power grid, this is distributed through a closed system and is produced by the Generating Company Ometepe SA (Egomsa). The CEO of that company, Moises Lopez, says that on the island generates more than is demanded, and attributed the cuts to distribution problems.

“We (the island) have 1.8 megawatts of peak demand, and we have an installed capacity of 2.3 megawatts, have sufficient capacity to supply the system, there are breaks in the isolated systems may be due to problems in distribution networks, or problems in the generation, but we as a company we are able to supply the entire system of the island, “he says.

Recognizes that the isolated systems “are not robust as in the interconnected system,” but not to put “a crisis in the generation that we have.” “There is sufficient capacity,” he emphasizes.

“I’m generating, I can not speak for the distribution, but when the problem is by generation, there may be an output (power) which lasts no more than ten minutes,” he says.

Egomsa has five power generating units on diesel, two of them new, according to Lopez.

Jorge Katin, Communications Manager of Natural Gas, mentions that in recent months there have been many problems with power outages, “because energy demand has grown and the plants that were hired to produce energy have a limited capacity “.

“To this we must add that when the island a protected area, pruning the trees, which must be done to keep the grid clean, have great restrictions imposed by Marena. This has caused many interruptions in recent months, “he said.

Besides the problem of energy, tourism entrepreneurs face constraints Ometepe infrastructure, human resource training, water supply and capacity to serve the tourists start arriving to the island with more demands.

“The only official concern is that the airport is completed, parallel to this has not been trained people, anything that has to do with what comes on a plane, a person who will pay from Managua to here probably 150 dollars, which is a passage minimum, then $ 150 to get to a place where we can not respond … Yes, the tourists will come by plane to the island will come with other requirements, “says concerned Montilla, restaurant Mar Dulce.

Intur holder, Mario Salinas Pasos, is aware of this situation. Says it is working on it. The Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure works on the road, the Intur and international cooperation programs, such as South Triangle Road project has improved the training of tourism enterprises, and work on projects to improve the supply of basic services, he says.

Salinas admits that the airport “would raise the standard tourist”, as they are aware of the difficulties on the island, “we are committed to the institutions concerned to see how we can provide a solution to this.”

He hopes that once Ometepe open to the world with the new airport, the “boom” of tourists is gradual, simultaneous solution of all these limitations.

Link to Original Article:

From La Prensa

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