In a recent El Nuevo Diario (END) article, José Adán Aguerri (President of COSEP) discussed a number of business topics for 2018, including; exports, construction, the private sector attracting investments to Nicaragua as well as the tourism sector and its potential to contribute much more to the economy.
Last year, Aguerri was reelected for the tenth straight term as the President of COSEP which is the Higher Council of Private Enterprise. He was unopposed and has the unanimous endorsement of the twenty-six chambers that make up the Higher Council of Private Enterprise. http://delsurnews.com/general-aviles-on-security-in-nicaragua/
During the interview with END, Aguerri made the observation that the foreign exchange from tourism is comparable with the coffee or meat export numbers.
It was an interesting comparison and one that has been made before by tourism experts who have suggested that tourism is indeed an “export”, the difference being the consumer, or end user, comes here for the product! When compared more directly with export products one can see how important the sector is to the economy of Nicaragua.
Top 3 Export Products – 2016
Beef: US $ 430 million
Coffee Oro: US $ 400 million
Gold: US $ 357 million
Tourism Foreign Exchange in 2016
US $ 642 million
Aguerri has been a consistent advocate for creating the conditions for tourism to grow and for the government to give the tourism sector the same priority (if not more) than some of the export stars.
The COSEP head talked about the Tourism Commission created last year (2017) and identified March of this year as a date when that commission should have the basis of a tourism strategy.
The need to increase the volume of tourists arriving by air was another issue touched upon by Aguerri. He noted that unlike other Central American countries, more visitors enter by land than they do by air.
He also noted that the statistics clearly show that those entering by air spend more money; therefore it’s logical that Nicaragua explores methods of increasing that traffic. He also stated that the opening up of new routes such as from Europe is vital, as is the promotion of new and better connections between Managua and the USA. (The US is the number one country of origin of visitors and increasing that demographic could be a cost effective solution to receiving more visitors arriving by air).