The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), the global authority on the economic and social contribution of Travel & Tourism, promotes sustainable growth for the sector, working with governments and international institutions to create jobs, to drive exports and to generate prosperity. Together with its research partner, Oxford Economics, WTTC produces annual research that shows Travel & Tourism to be one of the world’s largest sectors, supporting over 276 million jobs and generating 9.8% of global GDP in 2014.

Travel and tourism play a critical role in the economic activity in most countries around the world, and this has never been more true than in Nicaragua.  According to the WTTC Travel & Tourism Economic Impact 2015 report on Nicaragua, the tourism industry generated 87,000 jobs directly in 2014 (3.5% of total employment) and this is forecast to fall by 2.8% in 2015 to 84,500 (3.3% of total employment). This includes employment by hotels, travel agents, airlines and other passenger transportation services (excluding commuter services). It also includes, for example, the activities of the restaurant and leisure industries directly supported by tourists.

By 2025, travel and  tourism will account for 76,000 jobs directly, a decrease of 1.1% pa over the next ten years.

The same report shows that in terms of GDP, domestic travel spending generated 60.6% of direct travel and tourism GDP in 2014 compared with 39.4% for visitor exports (ie foreign visitor spending or international tourism receipts).Domestic travel spending is expectedto grow by 4.8% in 2015 and rise by 4.2% in 2025. Visitor exports are expected to grow by 3.2% in 2015 and rise by 6.7%  in 2025.

The Boston Globe reported that these growth stats are making Nicaragua one of the world’s top ten emerging destinations. In a recent publication, the journal wrote “Industry experts are calling Nicaragua the hottest destination in Central America, and one of its best bargains…The political climate has long settled down and the country is throwing out the welcome mat to foreign visitors, investing in infrastructure and facilities.”

The outlook for travel and tourism in 2016 looks very promising too. The Nicaraguan government keeps on creating incentives for tourism development, particularly, and a more favorable climate for investment in general. Therefore, as more and more companies invest in the country, not only tourist on vacation, it becomes necessary to invest in new infrastructure and human resources, which also means the creation of more jobs and opportunities for the whole country to move towards a better future.