Tourism in check
By: Lucia Navas
Cooperation and investment is at risk because the Intur is headless
The absence of a minister and the dismissal of the principal directors have paralyzed the Nicaraguan Tourism Institute (Intur), a situation that risks 3.8 million euros (4.1 million dollars) from the government of Luxembourg because it is not certain if resources will be used correctly.
Leonardo Torres, president of the Nicaraguan Chamber of Small and Medium Enterprises Tourism (Cantur), who also warned that failing to name a chairperson to the Board of Tourism Incentives has stopped approval of six new investment projects, among these hotels.
Although the official version is that entrepreneur Mayra Salinas is on vacation, it is known that she has been dismissed from her role as the Executive Chairman of Intur on 28 July. They also fired five CEOs.
“We would expect that if there is no minister, there would be a deputy minister, a director, someone who has been named, but for two months in the private sector we do not have communication with Intur and that worries us,” said Torres.
So he asked the President of the Republic to name “as soon as possible” replacements of the Intur authorities “or to tell us if we should coordinate with Gustavo Porras (doctor, union leader and member of the FSLN), but you need to put someone forward, because we can no longer be paralyzed. ”
Porras is in charge of the restructuring of the Institute of Tourism and other entities such as the Ministry of Home Economics.
Private investment in tourism fell in the first half of 2015 by 63 percent over the same period of 2014. Their have been approved only $ 22 million this year. As of June last year investments exceeded sixty million dollars.
Cantur fears that private investment in tourism continues to be inoperative due to the failing Tourism Incentives Board, which chairs Intur together with the Ministry of Finance and Business Chambers. Most urgently, Torres said, it is to define the use of cooperation funds in Luxembourg.
For the August 14th meeting that is scheduled between private chambers, Intur and the representative of Luxembourg to define the projects of International Cooperation Plan for 2016-2017 in that country of around 3.8 million euros.
“That is in standby, do not know whether to give this meeting because we have defined time and place and is donated to Nicaragua,” said Torres. He explained that the meeting was rescheduled after discontinuing the meeting scheduled for June, precisely because Mayra Salinas began to limit meetings with entrepreneurs.
“Until you sit down and work out what we are doing, this is discouraging cooperation and if we are asking for money everywhere and can’t show how to use it, this is harming small businesses in Nicaragua,” lamented Torres.
LAW OF THE COASTS IS USELESS
Cantur met last Friday with the Monitoring Committee headed by presidential adviser for economic affairs, Bayardo Arce, who requested that the President of the Republic fix the Intur situation.
The Committee on Development of Coastal Areas has stopped working again as mayors continue providing coastal concessions and renting land in tourist areas over the laws in the Coastal Act. This commission has not met since 2009. Cantur reported problems with tourism investments in San Rafael del Sur, San Jorge, in Corinto, San Juan del Sur and Tola.
Source: Turismo en jaque | La Prensa
This doesn’t sound good. Not at all! As useless as Intur is, they of course are even more useless without anyone leading efforts to increase investment. I’d like to say this is a typical Nicaragua situation, but really when it comes to investment in tourism the government should be paying a bit more attention.
If it is true that some large investments are on hold or those funds being diverted to other regions and countries, that is a real shame. We need more luxury and spa properties, more ecotourism, and more mid-range tourism offerings and this development with the government tourism board is not helping in that endeavor at all!
Also, this report that the Coastal Act is no longer being enforced (that’s my read on it at least) is really troubling as again, investors want to know what the rules are before they invest big bucks (or euros) in the Nicaraguan economy.
Just when Nicaragua is getting a better name amongst tourists, and the economy has been doing better, and numbers of tourists visiting has been going up, we see this and all I can say is that this is quite disappointing. I’d love your opinion or read on this, especially someone with more contact with Intur. Feel free to add your comments below.