Living In Nicaragua – Is Tourism Devastating For Nicaragua?
Tourism is the biggest industry in the world today, involving more than 100 million people. Third world countries, like Nicaragua, are easy targets for the exploitation and destruction from transnational companies which dominates the global tourist scenery. As a traveler you see the same giant resorts, looking the same, everywhere you go in the world.
We want to travel, we want to meet and learn from each other. Broaden our horizons, our minds and become more accepting and non judgmental towards people who do not look and speak exactly like we do. Sadly most people have forgotten this and the negative consequences of our visits outnumber the positive – even though we like to believe the opposite.
Cash starving countries see the tourism as a highway to heaven – but in reality it is the high way to hell.
Tourism makes the poverty problem worse, destroys the environment and violates basic human rights. Employment in the tourist sector is often inhuman and the direct relationship between local companies or local services is often small, if it exists at all. Problems with property rights are common, as big investors manage to steal land from the indigenous.
Tourism is one of the most dynamic sectors in Nicaragua today. Quickly becoming one of the countries main sources of revenue. Nicaragua welcomed more than one million tourists in 2011, generating 350 million US dollars extra in income. The growth in this sector was a remarkable 7% from 2007 – 2011, all according to the Nicaragua Tourism Board (INTUR).
Nicaragua is one of the richest (yes you read that right) countries in the world with over 22,000 km2 of nature reserve and over 700 km of coast with beautiful beaches on the Pacific and the Atlantic side. This makes eco tourism one of the fastest growing and most popular tourism. However it has proven not to be that sustainable when you look closer seeing visitors invading protected wildlife. This is just another excuse to profit in disguise.
What can we do?
The answer is not to stop traveling or investing in a new home abroad. Like in everything else you have the power as a consumer. Get the facts before you buy something. Ask questions. Eat and shop locally. Check your behavior, what are the consequences of your actions. Raise your consciousness and be as smart as you can be.
Warning signs for the future of Nicaragua.
I have been to Spain, in the 60Aï¿½s as a kid – I know how that ended. I have been to Greece in my youth – I know how that ended. I have been to Thailand in the 80Aï¿½s – and we all know how that ended. I donAï¿½t even have to mention Costa Rica. If you been around you have seen the signs. If you have been a traveler around the world you know how it goes.
One of the consequences with globalisation is giving away the power to a few giant corporations. This is happening in Nicaragua today. We still have time to stop the devastation of Nicaragua’s natural resources, allowing what has happened to other third world countries serve as a serious warning.