Nicaragua begins to give importance to the meeting industry, which moves billions of dollars in the world, although they admit that the lack of large convention centers marks a limit.
Lucy Valenti, executive president of Turismo e Inversiones S.A. and President of the National Chamber of Tourism (Canatur), said that the celebration, on April 16, of the International Day of the Industry of Meetings demonstrates the importance of this sector at the international level, especially for tourism. “The segment of the tourism industry increases as more events, congress meetings and travel conventions are organized.
This becomes an incentive in the industry at the regional level. For example, in the United States the meeting industry is the main driver of its economy and more in cities like Washington, ”says Valenti. For Sergio de Castro, a member of Canatur and promoter of the Bureau of Conventions of Nicaragua and Central America, this type of industry in Nicaragua is represented by the medical congresses – the most common ones – that bring together national, regional and international specialists. However, Lucy Valenti said that also in Nicaragua this tourism industry is represented by surfing, with 30%, since many foreigners come to the country to participate in international events that house many surfers.
According to De Castro, in recent years the fairs associated with congresses of specific sectors such as “the construction fair, the housing fair, the agricultural congress, the international mining congress, the international tourism fair, the congress of free zones or the annual meeting held by the producers of cigars ”. 66.8 dollars a day a visitor spends in Nicaragua for business reasons.
The tourism industry of meetings or events, says De Castro, is to bring together experts and businessmen in a few days to hold training, marketing, business or sales activities in one place, in which they seek to achieve results that, otherwise, would require more days and more resources. “What differentiates the tourism of meetings from other branches of tourism is that in general the activities are carried out in a short space of time, intensively, and brings together a group of people with a purchasing power higher than the average of tourists, because their expenses often triple the average expenses of an ordinary tourist, ”de Castro explained.
Last year in Nicaragua the average daily expenditure of tourists reached $ 41.5, according to a report from the Central Bank of Nicaragua (BCN). In the area of business tourism, the BCN indicates that on average each tourist spent US.8 per day last year.
A RISING SECTOR
Lucy Valenti and Sergio de Castro agree that meetings or events tourism is the fastest growing branch in the global tourism industry, both in terms of volume of people involved in activities related to this sector, and in the resources invested. 50 dollars is the daily expense of a tourist who arrives in Nicaragua for vacation reasons.
According to them, countries like Mexico, Cuba, Brazil, and Argentina – to mention some of Latin America – hold thousands of events a year and some with the participation of more than five thousand people, which in a single day can mean income of up to US millions for the tourism industry of a city.
Last year Nicaragua exceeded US0 million in tourism revenues, according to the BCN. In the Central American sphere, Panama and Costa Rica are leading the way in congress tourism compared to countries that are barely strengthening in this branch. For this reason, experts argue that in Nicaragua the offer must be improved.
When asked by EL NUEVO DIARIO about whether this industry empowers the tourism sector, Sergio de Castro said that “meeting tourism moves the entire industry, including airlines, hotels, car rental companies, tour operators, restaurants and guides… in short , allows a leap in the demand for quality services ”. 23.3 dollars spend the tourists who arrive to visit their relatives. De Castro and Valenti agreed that a mirror to follow is that of Panama, a country that has a convention and trade fair center, where an important number of international events are held.
Also, Costa Rica, where a park of international quality fairs and conventions is being built, while Honduras already has a park with very good conditions for this type of event. “Nicaragua must think of a fairground with international parameters and a true convention center, with state-of-the-art technical facilities, rooms that allow adapting to different needs and highly qualified personnel. These are still pending subjects, ”De Castro said.
For Ariel Somarriba, president of the Congrexpo-ICN Convention Center, in Nicaragua a “simple equation” must be made: the greater the number of visitors for reasons of attending international meetings, congresses or conventions, the greater the number of expenses per visitor, and therefore higher economic income. “A visitor to an international event in a country, spends two to three times more per day than the leisure tourist,” says Somarriba.
In Nicaragua, there are no figures on the number of people that arrive each year to attend international congresses, nor regarding the income generated by this area of tourism. Colonial Cities Two of Nicaragua’s main towns, Granada and León, were once Spanish settlements and are now known as must-see colonial cities with stunning historical architecture and old-world attractions.
Source: El Nuevo Diario
Mice is the abbreviation for Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions for its acronym in English, commonly known as the Business Tourism Industry.
Meetings Guides is a brand of MeetingsAlliance, Your Link to Latin America.
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