Nicaragua’s Tourism Future

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It has been approximately 30 days since the protests began here in Nicaragua. Daily we read reports of hotels suffering through the loss of current and future guests through numerous reservation cancellations. Our once “Jewel of Central America”, “Next hot destination”,  “Must visit place for 2018”, and dozens of other accolades has almost overnight turned into one of the 10 “Places to avoid travel for 2018”. safety is a pre-requisite for the success of the tourism industry, and the mere threat of  negative events can cause tourists to rethink their decision to visit a destination.

The “New Nicaragua” of the past couple years is going through yet another change. It is a change that came unexpectedly and on the surface affected much of our tourism but more importantly, the citizens of this country. Many of their lives will never be the same. But one thing is sure to remain… the warmth of their smiles, their welcoming nature and their never failing will to survive. They are faced with the difficult task of asking future visitors to love their country enough to visit even after the dust settles. But countries that undergo conflicts don’t stay unattractive forever.

Each tragedy has its silver lining. In the case of Nicaragua the need to rebuild presents an opportunity—a blank slate—for the community to redraw the emotional landscape, to make it stronger and grander than it was before. Some of the world’s greatest cities were once victims of events that turned them into nothing more than piles of wreckage. Yet even after the worst of destruction, like in Hiroshima where recovery seemed impossible, cities have bounced back, rebuilt from the ground up, and reborn as symbols of modernity and peace.  Another example is The Great Chicago Fire of 1871. It destroyed 17,500 buildings and more than 73 miles of streets. An estimated 300 people died, and some 90,000 residents were displaced. the city, in less than 20 years, not only built the world’s first skyscraper, but also became a major economic and transportation hub. The Great Kanto Earthquake in Tokyo, 1923, killed more than 100,000 people. Nevertheless, the earthquake and all the struggles that came with it marked a turning point in Japan. Tokyo has gone on to become one of the world great metropolises.”

A Civil War in Beirut, 1975-1990 lasted lasted 15 years. Downtown Beirut today is a symbol of modernity and luxury, with architecture that attracted foreign investment and boosted its economic recovery.

People walk along Beirut's commercial district in downtown
People walk along Beirut’s commercial district in downtown Lebanon December 30, 2016. Picture taken December 30, 2016. REUTERS/Jamal Saidi – RTSW6ST

But despite all the media attention, not one flight has been cancelled flying into the country since the protests began. Some flights have changed schedules to allow flight crews the ability to not have to overnight in Managua but every airline is operating on a normal schedule. We have not closed the borders  and are devastated at the thought of  losing the positive tourism developments of the past decade. But we will keep getting the word out there that once it’s all said and done,  more than anything we want you to experience the wonders of travel to Nicaragua in a safe and secure environment. We hope that one day you will be convinced this is a place you will put on your must visit list as we once again emerge as a “New Nicaragua”.

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