The tourism sector is celebrating the recent announcement that the governmentof President Daniel Ortega is going to lift all tourist visa requirements for foreign travelers as an incentive to boost tourism here.
The announcement came last week from Tourism Minister Mario Salinas. President Ortega was expected to sign the measure this week, according to sources at the Nicaraguan Tourism Institute (INTUR).
Once the measure is signed, all tourists – regardless of nationality – will be able to visit Nicaragua without a visa. Industry sources expect that the number of Costa Rican tourists alone could double as a result.
“This is a very important accomplishment,” said Lucy Valenti, president of the Nicaraguan Tourism Chamber. She noted that when former President Arnoldo Alemán temporarily lifted tourist visa requirements for Costa Ricans in the mid 1990s, the number of Tico tourists coming to Nicaragua immediately increased by 40-50 percent.
In addition to luring more tourists from Costa Rica, the visa suspension will also help facilitate the arrival of more tourists from Asia, several countries in South America – such as Colombia, and emerging European markets, such as Russia, Valenti said.
More established tourism markets, such as the United States, Canada, the European Union, and other Central American countries won’t be affected by the measure, since they didn’t had tourism visa requirements in the first place.
All tourists will still have to pay for a $5 tourist card upon entering the country.