In 2012, the growth rate of tourist arrivals in Nicaragua exceeded 11 percent, up to the month of October, compared to 2011. This number is expected to increase during 2013, with all the recent efforts made by the Nicaraguan Tourism Board (INTUR, for its acronym in Spanish) and PRONicaragua, to promote the country as an ideal destination for travelers, as well as the publicity that Nicaragua has had during the last year.
The country has been recently featured in several international publications such as the New York Times, which ranked Nicaragua third in the “Top 46 Places to go in 2013”; the Huffington Post in its ranking of the “World’s Top 10 Retirement Havens for 2013”; International Living’s “Top 22 retirement destinations in the world for 2013”, and many others such as the Wall Street Journal, NBC Channel and Vogue Magazine.
However, not only Nicaragua’s tourist locations are making it an increasingly attractive place to visit. Other factors such as the country’s security levels, strategic location and low costs are getting the attention of foreigners. A recent poll by CID Gallup Latin America showcased Nicaragua as the Central American country with the lowest levels of criminality in the region, including Panama and the Dominican Republic. Additionally, institutions such as the Economist Intelligence Unit in its 2012 Security Risk Report rank the country among the safest in Latin America.
Nicaragua’s privileged location, right in the center of the Central American isthmus, facilitates the arrival of tourists from different parts of the world by air, land or sea. It is only two hours away from different cities in the United States, one of the main source markets for tourists that visit Nicaragua.
According to Mario Salinas, Minister of Tourism, if Nicaragua is able to maintain its double-digit tourism growth, it will be neck and neck with Panama for the fastest-growing market in Central America.