Dani Lathan-Reid, a banker from South Carolina, claimed the unique honor last week of becoming the one-millionth tourist to visit Nicaragua in 2010. Nicaragua reached the long-awaited milestone of 1 million annual tourists on Dec. 29, when Lathan-Reid unknowingly stepped off the American Airlines flight at 1 p.m. and was greeted to a hero’s welcome in Managua’s Augusto Sandino International Airport.
The first-time visitor to Nicaragua, who said she was drawn here by the country’s, reputation for ecotourism and unspoiled beaches, was welcomed in the airport by Tourism Minister Mario Salinas, who presented the happy tourist with a certificate, a bottle of Flor de Caña rum and some enthusiastic words of welcome.
“Your arrival is very important for us because for the first time ever we have received 1 million [annual] tourists in our country; it’s an historic goal,” the minister said.
Nicaragua’s resilient tourism industry grew by 9.6 percent in 2010, according to preliminary numbers released by the Nicaraguan Tourism Institute (INTUR).