Thursday, December 16, 2010

Nicaragua: Rural Community Tourism

Waterfall in San Jose de los Remates
Farmer to Farmer volunteer, Alan Robinson recently traveled to Nicaragua to assess the feasibility and do the preliminary planning for rural community tourism in the municipality of San Jose de los Remates. This was the first community tourism assignment, as the Farmer to Farmer Program in Nicaragua has been working primarily on improving the dairy value chain. Rural Tourism (sometimes described as agritourism, rural community tourism, community-based ecotourism and adventure tourism) on a small scale is already quite common in Nicaragua, however not in San Jose de los Remates. The volunteer worked with the San Jose de los Remates Mayor's office and Tourism Association to help them put together tourism strategies and to make it clear that whatever programs they develop they will be in competition with other rural tourism in Nicaragua and to some extent in neighboring countries like Honduras and Costa Rica. It was discussed that to be competitive, the products and services they offer must be carefully developed to attract the kind of tourists they want, and must be marketed in ways that will reach that group of potential tourists and convince them to come to San Jose de los Remates. The volunteer found that the highest potential for tourism lies in the coffee and dairy farms, La Chorrea waterfall, and Cerro Cumaica / Cerro Allegre Natural Reserve. Tourist related businesses would bring in supplement incomes and diversify the local economy away from just purely dairy and coffee farming.
FTF volunteer, Alan Robinson, getting some tourism tips from a little helper.

The FTF volunteer maps out possible walking and hiking trails.
Mrs. Robinson sharing some gallo pinto during the homestay. Mrs. Robinson was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Nicaragua 30 years ago so she accompanied her husband during his assignment.

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