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Eco tourism, the cornerstone of Nicaragua's success

Nicaragua is one of this year's most talked about holiday destinations. As a relatively new player to the global tourism industry, Nicaragua has not yet fallen victim to the side effects of mass tourism. With unexplored regions and remote destinations like Ometepe Island, eco tourism is at the heart of Nicaragua's success.

Eco tourism, the cornerstone of Nicaragua's success

It is no secret that Nicaragua is one of this year's hottest holiday destinations and is in high favour among industry experts. In 2014, Nicaragua welcomed 1.32 million foreign holidaymakers and as a result its tourism industry generated $445.4 million in revenue- a 6.8 per cent increase over the previous year.

The Central American country has since set a 2015 target of 1.35 million foreign arrivals generating $450 million. One of the ways in which Nicaragua hopes to grow its tourism industry is by attracting more European holidaymakers, who currently account for 7 percent of foreign arrivals. To this end, Nicaraguan officials are seeking to raise awareness of its potential for eco-tourism to key European source markets.

In May, it was reported that Nicaragua invited representatives from travel agencies across European markets like Germany, Spain, France the Netherlands and Poland to come and experience first hand eco-friendly holidays in Nicaragua. The delegation is expected to tour sustainable destinations in Nicaragua including a tour of Nicaragua's volcanoes.

While its regional peers like Costa Rica have a far more developed tourism industry, some holidaymakers are favouring the road less travelled.

Sheridan Samano, co founder of a tour operator specializing in eco-friendly holidays, echoed that sentiment as she recently discussed the ways in which Nicaragua was establishing its self a top green destination.

According to Ms Samano the fact that Nicaragua is largely untouched and has shied away from the trappings of mass tourism accounts for a large part of its allure as a green holiday destination. Remote destinations like Ometepe Island is a perfect example of Nicaragua's focus on value over volume with the seven room Xalli eco hotel generating buzz among eco conscious holidaymakers.

Last year marked a key milestone for the development of Nicaragua's eco tourism industry with the launch of the Mukul resort, the first eco friendly luxury resort in the country. Samano had the following to say of Mukul:

"Guests of this new property are immersed in Nicaraguan culture, food and leave with a unique appreciation for this beautiful destination. Mukul was developed, as per the owner of the property, to act as a catalyst for Nicaraguan tourism It sets the stage for continued development of high-end, sustainable travel experiences".

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