The organization of the Central American Council of Tourism recently held a meeting in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, to continue the search for concrete actions in favor of greater integration and cooperation, such as a common visa, which will result in the growth of this important sector for the region.

Taking part in meetings were delegations from Panama, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, Belize, Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic, under the organization of the Central American Tourism Council (CCT), the Central American Tourism Promotion Agency (CATA) and the Secretariat of Central American Tourism Integration (Sitca).

“Among the challenges we face are breaking down those barriers that impede the free mobility of tourists and visitors in the intraregional aspect, in addition to trying to reduce the costs of air tickets and the application of more competitive rates,” Rodrigo Báez, executive secretary of the Sitca, the organism of the System for the Central American Integration (Sica), told EFE.

Another point being discussed by the participants is the achievement of greater air connection in the region.

Dominican Tourism Minister, Francisco Javier García, is calling for the creation of a common visa for tourists and visitors from the region. He considers that the ideal for Central America is the model of the European Union (EU), which allows those who receive a visa from one of the member countries to visit all the other member nations of that bloc.

Last year, Central America and the Dominican Republic received 23.1 million visitors, registering a growth of 7.5%, compared to 2016, which represented 1.6 million additional visitors.

The main markets for tourists to the region were North America (43.3%), Central America (26.8%), Europe (15.8%), South America (11.8%), Asia (0.9%), Caribbean (0.7%), and rest of the world. (0.7%).

Source (in Spanish): El Nuevo Diario