Nicaragua is one of the few countries that, although it is among the economies that have partially or totally suspended commercial flights, remains open for international tourism, according to a report by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).
In the midst of the pandemic, a UNWTO report from April 27 indicates that, along with Nicaragua in Latin America, Venezuela was also still open to receiving international travelers, thus placing itself in the small group of 26 nations around the world that had only adopted restrictive measures regarding international flights.
In the world, in addition to Nicaragua and Venezuela, other economies that keep their borders open are Afghanistan, Angola, Burundi, Chad, Egypt, Eritrea, Gambia, Guinea (Rep.), Guyana, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Myanmar, Nepal, Nigeria, Palau, Slovenia, South Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, and Zimbabwe.
Nine other economies had restrictions on travelers to specific destinations. This group includes Botswana, Haiti, Japan, the Maldives, Nauru, Niue, St. Kitts and Nevis, the Syrian Arab Republic, and the United States of America.
A group similar to the previous one had only taken measures related to quarantine or self-isolation. They are, Barbados, Belarus, Ethiopia, Ireland, Puerto Rico, Sierra Leone, St. Vincent and Grenadine, United Kingdom and Zambia.
Central America is closed to the world
All the countries of Central America, with the exception of Nicaragua, are included in the group of 166 destinations (76% of the total around the world) that completely or partially had their borders closed, which has paralyzed world passenger traffic.
“Tourism has been the sector hardest hit by this crisis because countries close borders and people stay at home. Our Organization calls on governments to coordinate the lifting of restrictions, at the appropriate time and in a responsible manner, when it is considered safe to do so. Tourism is the lifesaver for millions of people, especially in developing countries. Reopening the world to tourism will save jobs, protect livelihoods and allow our sector to resume its vital role in driving sustainable development,” said Zurab Pololikashvili, Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization.
According to the report, when broken down by region, it is observed that 83%t of destinations in Europe have completely closed the borders to international tourism. In the Americas, the percentage is 80%, in Asia and the Pacific 70%, in the Middle East 62%, and in Africa 57%.
Of the 217 destinations worldwide, a total of 156 (72%) have completely stopped international tourism, according to data collected as of April 27, 2020.
In 25% of destinations, restrictions have been in place for at least three months, while in 40% of them, restrictions began at least two months ago. Among the study’s most significant data is that no destination has so far lifted or eased travel restrictions, UNWTO indicates.
What happened in Nicaragua
It should be remembered, however, that in the case of Nicaragua, it was the commercial airlines that gradually withdrew from the country as Central American governments closed their borders of all kinds, which affects connections and therefore traffic to Nicaraguan soil.
In Nicaragua, the suspension of flights was never officially announced by order of the Government.
In fact, that was the argument that the Daniel Ortega regime used to reject two repatriation flights that were scheduled from the Cayman Islands.
On April 17, when all the international commercial airlines had already suspended flights to the country, Ortega notified Cayman Airways that he would not allow two flights from Cayman Island, with stranded Nicaraguans.
“The Government of the Cayman Islands informed Cayman Airways that the Nicaraguan Government closed its borders indefinitely as of today (April 17), and as a result, repatriation flights scheduled to depart from Grand Cayman to Managua this Saturday, April 18, 2020, have been canceled,” the airline reported on its website.
And although the borders are still open to international travelers, the truth is that Nicaraguans seeking to enter the country have not been allowed to enter by way land borders and have had to undertake long journeys in Central America to reach Nicaragua, where they are rejected.