QUITO, Ecuador -- As part of Travel Agent's ongoing coverage of the 37th Travel Mart Latin America, we sat down with several members of INTUR, the Institute of Tourism for Nicaragua, and learned that the destination will continue to revamp its hotel product shortly after opening the country's first-ever five-star resort.
Dina Joseph Hodgson, director of promotion and marketing for INTUR, and other members of the tourism institute told us that the destination will be home new a new Wyndham Hotels and Resorts property by next year while Hyatt Hotels and Resorts plans to set up shop in the country within the next two years. Both hotels are expected to be located in Managua, the nation's capital, according to representatives of INTUR.
The hotel development wave can perhaps be traced to Mukul Resort & Spa, the country's first five-star hotel, which opened toward the end of February. Before Mukul, the destination was home to mostly boutique hotels.
And all of this new development will give Nicaragua all the new product it needs to keep its momentum going following one of its most successful years in the country's tourism history.
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In fact, it was reported in November of last year that tourism is one of the country’s fastest-growing economic sectors.
Tourist arrivals increased in the past few years to become Nicaragua’s largest industry. From January through September 2012, tourism to Nicaragua increased 11 percent, leading to an 11.45 percent increase in foreign investment. And INTUR representatives told us the country is on pace for a 12-percent increase this year.
The increase in tourism is in part due to easier access to Nicaragua and to its more remote regions. Travelers have enjoyed the improved roads and more plentiful and accessible flights. Cruise lines are also stopping in Nicaragua’s ports and will be increasing in number come 2014 when the port of San Juan del Sur finishes its renovations. The colonial city of Granada, one of the most well-preserved colonial cities in the Americas, was the most popular Nicaraguan tourist site for 2012. The town accounted for 41.12 percent of the tourists visiting the country’s top five tourist destinations.