Tuesday 28 March 2023

Nicaragua’s Inexplicable Obstacle to Tourism

Although the new measures are for the arrival of visitors invited for reasons other than tourism, they could discourage tourists arrivals in Nicaragua.

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25 March 2023 - At The Banks - BCCR

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New immigration measures could discourage tourists. Photo Elnuevodiario.com.ni

Q COSTA RICA – Nicaraguan immigration authorities have introduced a new and inexplicable measure that requires foreigners who intend to enter the country to file a “notice of entry” seven days in advance.

The Nicaragua business sector has expressed concern.

The Consejo Superior de la Empresa Privada (Cosep) and Cámara Nacional de Turismo de Nicaragua (Canatur), are calling on the Nicaraguan government to analyze the impact of the migratory restrictions issued by the Dirección General de Migración y Extranjería (DGME) – immigration service – to all foreigners who wish to visit the country.

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The immigration notice states that foreigners must seven days in advance fill out an entry form with their travel document number, “whether it is a personal, family or group visit, to participate in tourism, cultural, religious, sports, business, or any other activities.”

However, the DGME website explains the procedure is “for the orderly and safe arrival of visitors invited for reasons other than tourism.”

Click here for the link to the DGME website.

In reviewing the form, it appears that the measure is geared to travel operators, organizations or associations requesting the arrival and departure to Nicaragua on specific dates and specific purpose for the visit.

Click here for the form. (You will be redirected to a Word form that must be filled out and sent, by email, to preyes@migob.gob.ni or solicitudes@migob.gob.ni.

Based on the above, there is no reason to believe that foreigners in Costa Rica looking to visit Nicaragua need to concern themselves with the measure, and there have been no reports, in the English or Spanish language media and social media, such as Facebook or Twitter of any foreigner visitor being denied entry (based on this requirement) into Nicaragua.

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Nicaragua’s Tourism Sector
The decision affects the tourist activity warned José Adán Aguerri, president of the Cosep and Lucy Valenti, president of the  National Chamber of Tourism of Nicaragua (Canatur).

In speaking to the Elnueovodiaior.co.ni, Aguerri recalled that the measure has been in existence for several months, but El Salvador was the first country to pronounce on it. “We are worried and concerned because, while the mechanism has worked, there has not been this kind of public positioning against the mechanism, today there is a very clear statement from the head of Migration of that country,” he said.

LaPrensa.com.ni report on Julu 29, 207, jurist and former Ambassador Mauricio Díaz, saying that El Salvador is causing “a travel alarm”, which their catchy message on Twitter, “We recommend that if it is not necessary to travel to Nicaragua, do not do it, due to the different requirements that exist at the moment”.

For her part, Lucy Valenti told Elnuevodiario.com.ni: “…”We have had complaints from people who have come by land from Honduras, tour operators from Costa Rica, who complain about having to send a listing 7 days in advance when there are tourist groups that can travel from one day to the next. We must clarify what is meant by tourism, because it is causing us a problem to our image.”

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“The Nicaraguan business sector, particularly companies working in the tourism industry, regret the government’s decision to implement this measure. The only thing it does is to discourage the entry of foreigners, who in their vast majority come to the country to take part in tourist activities. Complaints have arisen from El Salvador and other nations about the difficulties of this new measure, especially from tour operators and tourist companies that manage trips to Nicaragua from neighboring countries,” added the president of Canatur.

Canatur says it is hoping for a review of the measure and recognition of the impact, so that it can be reversed in order to safeguard tourism.

“Only Nicaragua has in it Central America, and not only in Central America, I do not know of it anywhere else,” added Valenti.g

Aguerri added that on Friday a Cosep team is working with the Attorney General’s Office (PGR) in an effort to respond to the demand of coffee growers and Small and Medium Sized Businesses (PYMEs in Spanish) in the tourism sector to propose reforms to the Ley de Fronteras (Border Law).

Costa Rican officials were available for comment.

According to statistics provided by the Nicaraguan Institute of Tourism (Intur), in 2016 a total of 1,504,414 tourists entered Nicaragua.

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