A cruise hunting
- Nicaragua tries to enter the fight to attract more tourists by cruise ship.
The Pacific and the Caribbean coasts of Central America each year attracts an average of 1.35 million cruise passengers. In Nicaragua, although the figures show a recovery, the authorities have challenges to overcome to achieve the high levels of visitors that nearby countries receive, such as in Honduras, where in 2013 -Last update available- the number reached 707.597 persons arriving via cruiseships, according to the Honduran Institute of Tourism (IHT) .
At the end of 2013 statistics from the Nicaraguan Institute of Tourism (Intur) show that 38 cruise ships came to the country, of which 36 carried passengers for a total of 32.254 visitors, down from 41 ships that arrived in 2014, of which forty carried 51.084 foreigners.
Given that reality, the president of the National Chamber of Tourism (Canatur), Sylvia Ramirez Levy said that together with representatives of Intur since 2013 been offering additional packages for cruise travelers so that they are not only landing in ports, but traveling on to other cities.
“Since 2014 we have also promoted to Managua as historical and gastronomic destination for tourists to have one more reason to reach more distant reference points of embarkation,” he said.
The Preferred Ones
When comparing statistics for all countries in the region, data shows that Honduras is where most foreigners traveling on cruise ships go. Honduras received 248 ships in 2013 with 707.597 people, more than 655.234 foreigners arrived in 2012, 270 ships.
According to the IHT in 2011 the country of Honduras received 316 cruise ships that carried 786.997 foreigners.
After Honduras follows Panama, a country where tourism during 2014 was the number one economic activity, generating 5476.4 million with the visit of 2.30 million people as a general discharge. Cruise passengers represented 15.9 percent of total tourists, equivalent to 365.664 visitors who arrived on 236 boats, according to the Panamanian Tourism Authority (ATP).
In Panama the arrival of foreign cruisers showed a reduction in 2014, and that during 2013 the country received 373.505 visitors in 239 boats, equivalent to a change of 2.1 percent.
“It is expected that with the arrival of new cruise lines in 2015 passenger arrivals to Panama increases. Also with the new cruise departure from Panama, as is the Express Cruiser, which makes travel to Cartagena and Bocas del Toro, the passenger has new options to meet new attractions, such as the Isla Colon (Bocas del Toro), with its beautiful beaches and natural parks, ” cites the 2014 statistical yearbook published by the ATP.
Neighboring Costa Rica is the third largest recipient of cruise visitors. The accounting of the Costa Rican Tourism Institute (ICT) observes the arrival of ships and tourist season, so that during 2013-2014 received 181 cruises with 212.172 visitors.
ICT statistics show that the arrival of foreigners in this way showed a drop, as during the 2009-2010 season received 269 cruises 418.988 foreigners.
Guatemala and El Salvador are the countries that receive fewer visitors via cruise ships. Until 2014 the Guatemalan Tourism Institute (INGUAT) reported the arrival of 15.923 foreigners mostly from the US, Canada, UK, Australia, Denmark, Spain, the Netherlands and Taiwan.
Instead El Salvador only managed a cruise that was carrying only one thousand, six hundred of which visited the capital San Salvador, the archaeological site Tazumal and Cerro Verde Park, according to information from the Salvadoran Tourism Corporation (Corsatur), which Glenda shared Caceres, Information Officer of the Unit of Access to Public Information of the Ministry of Tourism of El Salvador.
A REGIONAL ROUTE
To offer visitors a regional cruise route is an initiative by entrepreneurs in the sector who have shown to be attracted, but lack the strength to materialize the desired growth.
According to Lourdes Fuentes, sales manager Careli Tours, there is much interest from the Central American private sector to the route as being something more consistant.
This is an interesting article for anyone in Nicaragua doing some tourism-related business aimed at cruise line passengers. I was sort of surprised to see that the number one stop for cruise ships in Central America is Honduras, but it makes sense what with Roatan being so popular.
Two quick points: One, that overall cruise numbers have gone down in recent years. Two, that Nicaragua has plenty of room to grab more of this shrinking market.