Coinciding with the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development 2017, Nicaragua tourism announced its commitment to sustainability at WTM.
Guisell Morales-Echaverry, The Ambassador of Nicaragua, introduced a presentation by four of the country’s private tour companies.
Ricardo Carioni, head of country promotion, outlined Nicaragua’s collaboration with a public programme for sustainable tourism, which has resulted in a ‘significant’ increase in the number of sustainable travellers over recent years.
Three out of the four Rainforest Alliance Certified Tour Operators in Nicaragua – Careli Tours, Solentiname Tours, Vapues Tours, plus Detour Travel, told of their journeys to sustainability with initiatives including: recycling, school education programmes, working with cooperatives, artisans and local families and protecting endangered species.
All four companies are members of TOPS (Tour Operators Promoting Sustainability) in Nicaragua. The organisation started in 2012 with a mission to promote green activities and CSR actions both environmentally and socially.
TOPS Nicaragua also cooperates actively with local communities all over the country in promoting local heritage, the consumption of local food and handicrafts and hiring local people as guides and assistants.
This year Solentiname suggested staff became Guardians of Biodiversity. Each one will take personal responsibility for caring and protecting an endangered species from the exceptional biodiversity of Nicaragua. In addition the company intends to plant 1,000 trees in a year to contribute to the production of oxygen and to mitigate climate change.
Nicaragua was awarded the Sustainable and Responsible Tourism Destination of 2017 in the UK by LATA. The country is the second fastest growing destination in the entire American continent, eigth in the world. In total there were 1.5 million visitors in 2016, (with 16,923 coming from the UK) and a current 28.4% growth rate in 2017. It has also been classified as the safest country for visitors in Central America and the second safest in Latin America.