By Néstor Alí Gómez
As part of their strengthening and reorganization, on February 24th, the National Chamber of Tourism of Nicaragua, CANATUR (San Juan del Sur Chapter) chose their new Board of Directors. They will work for two years, hand in hand with the authorities, on issues relating to tourism in the Municipality of San Juan del Sur.
More than 25 members of the chamber, owners of local businesses from the different economic sectors of the municipality (such as real estate, hotels, transportation, restaurants and others) participated in an assembly where the new team was elected and lines of action were established in the short and medium term.
“The election of the chapter officials (of San Juan del Sur) was made by proposal of those present, all seconded and approved unanimously… and it’s a good team”, said Crisanto López, who serves as a “Fiscal” on the newly elected board.
López explained that the new regulatory body at the municipal level of this organization, was made up of Eduardo Holmann, owner of Playa Hermosa and The Flying Frog as Coordinator, Eduardo Cabrales from García and Bodan SJDS, as Vice Coordinator, Suyen Vargas of Aurora Beachfront Realty and Vacation Rentals, as Secretary, Patricia Granja, owner of El Globo Restaurant as Treasurer, Crisanto López from Casa Maderas as Fiscal and Board Members; Alam Cordero from Tree Casa, Franzel Mairena from Hotel Victoriano, Gaspar Guadamuz from Restaurante Jícaro Garden and Leslie Stewart of Remax Coastal.
Eduardo Holmann, the new coordinator said; “His biggest obligation in the next two years will be to coordinate with the board of directors the necessary actions to enhance tourism development in San Juan del Sur.” He also said that they will try to define an agenda to contribute to the resolution of problems that affect development, working hand in hand with local authorities and national authorities through CANATUR and COSEP.
According to Holmann, establishing alliances is one of the most important strategic actions for their advancement. “It is very important to make an alliance with the different national chambers and local chapters so that we have a common agenda and have more strength. For example; CADUR, HOPEN and ANID, all in partnership for the development of tourism”, Holmann said.
Problems that affect San Juan del Sur
Holmann explained that CANATUR has identified a series of problems that San Juan del Sur has and which affects the proper development of tourism in the port city. He explained; “There is an infrastructure issue that is recurrent. SJdS is not the same as it was a few years ago and growth can cause the infrastructure to collapse, such as the road network, drinking water and sewer. San Juan is a disorderly town and I think it is essential to make some order of it if we want to be a quality tourist destination. From the roads, parking lots, street vendors, etc. Everything can be done, but with order. With order, the majority wins.”
Another problem the board identified is the road connections for the municipality and better conditions for tourists at the border. “There is the need for the Coastal Road that unites us with Costa Rica in the south and with Tola and the airport in the north and we need a border post only for tourists. In addition, an alternative access to the urban area across the estuary, drawn up and approved by the San Juan del Sur City Council. Another issue is garbage, we have to find a solution together” he added.
At the same time Holmann reiterated that these problems are solvable only if one works in unity and alliance, “Our task will be to work hand in hand with the authorities, not as opponents, but allies to face development together.”
Holmann said that with the restructuring of the Board of Directors and the reorganization of the chapter in San Juan del Sur, the interests of its members will be defended. “There are many problems and of all kinds; legal, taxes, procedures, etc., that have not been solved in an expeditious manner.” He continued; “Above all, we must learn and understand about the problems that affect us and look at ways of how to solve them. We’re going to achieve a lot working together”, said the new local CANATUR Chapter Coordinator.
Requirements to Join CANATUR SJdS – The main requirement is to be a legal tourism business (or in the process of becoming one), fill out an application form, be willing to take on some work and attend periodic meetings to analyze progress and weaknesses.