A third of the tourist companies in Nicaragua can not pay debts - La Prensa (Nicaragua)

The tourism sector projects for this year only 390 million US dollars in tourism revenue, which will mean a decline of six years and will be under the four hundred million dollars last year, according to estimates from the National Chamber of Tourism (Canatur).

"We believe that the United States, Costa Rica and Europe will maintain their travel warning because of the climate (socio-political context) of the country, the Nicaragua brand does not give a good image abroad and if the crisis prevails, the backward movement are much more serious, "said the president of Canatur, Lucy Valenti yesterday.

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The predictions also indicate a decrease in the arrival of tourists, which would amount to only nine hundred thousand, below the 975 thousand that arrived last year.

This situation, together with the damage that the political crisis caused last year, causes serious damage to the finances of the companies.

On the basis of a survey among its partners, Canatur noted that 31% of companies in the tourism sector are on the brink of default because they have difficulty meeting their obligations with the national financial system.

You can read: Economic activities fall by 6 percent in October 2018

Last year, this sector closed with a drop in sales of 52 percent, compared with 2017, which represents a decrease of four years and the arrival of travelers dropped to a level of eight years ago.

"69% of companies have a commendable attitude (when paying off debts), but 15.4% of the companies are in default and 16% have lost control, between these companies they add a 31% that has large difficulty supporting its activity ", Valenti summarized in detail.

Only the companies that are members of Canatur estimate their debts with the National Financial System $ 107.74 million.

The repression of the Daniel Ortega regime since April 18, when the protests began, has brought the tourist sector to such a sharp decline that it has suspended the closure of many companies.

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Valenti said that 75 percent of tourism businesses remain in a state of survival and with the reform of social security and the budgetary adjustment proposed by the regime, it would leave the vast majority of the sector on the verge of bankruptcy.

"The tourism industry is still in crisis, the wrong policy to face protests destroyed production capacity, the intangible loss of the image is the substantial loss, a serious national dialogue aimed at sustainable results is indispensable", he insisted.

We have gone back to 2014

Although there are no official statistics yet, Canatur estimates that the chimpanzee industry generated around $ 400 million in 2018, well below the $ 840 million in 2017.

The air connection sinks

Moreover, the crisis has also affected the air connection, with the reduction in the frequency of flights of the seven airlines operating in Nicaragua. This would have affected the drastic fall of travelers last year.
Carlos Schütze, president of the Association of Travel Agencies, said that in 2018, 295,633 tourists arrived by plane, a decrease of 41 percent compared to 2017 when 503,638 passengers arrived.

Before the crisis per week there were 149 flights, until December these frequencies had been reduced to 67, which corresponds to a reduction of 53 percent. In January with the arrival of the Venezuelan airline Conviasa, which has four flights per week, the frequency increased to 71 weekly flights.

In addition: Cosep: socio-political crisis in Nicaragua closes external credit

Schütze added that due to the reduction of flights the costs of tickets have increased and travel routes have become uncomfortable because more connections have to be made.

Massive layoffs

As a result of the lower influx of tourists, the sector has had to reduce its staff.

In 2018 alone, 62,000 employees were made redundant and about 18,000 have a partial employment relationship with the companies whose owners want to prevent them from collapsing.

Valenti regretted that last year after the crisis, 93 percent of human talent & # 39; – perhaps skilled workers – have emigrated to other countries, leaving the sector in a complicated situation because it implies a separate situation that you have to invest in training.

Valenti emphasized that the resolution of the conflict is not an economic measure, but a political agreement, because of the total number of companies surveyed, 86 percent agree that a climate of security is needed.