Surfing has become an emerging industry for countries blessed with suitable waves to take advantage of. According to the Australian website Hotelclub.com El Salvador because of its perfect right breaking waves, ranks as one of the top 10 places to surf, giving it the potential to attract the attention of more than 30 million surfers worldwide.
From 4 to 8 July in Playa Punta Roca, the Quiksilver Cup World Championships took place, an event that has become a great opportunity to draw the attention of more than 30 million surfers worldwide. The surf market worldwide represents a turnover estimated at more than $13 million per year, numbers are increasing year on year.
The neighboring country Costa Rica, after several years of promoting surf tourism, has established itself as the third surfing destination in the world. In Nicaragua, according to figures published in the Nuevo Diario currently over 700 thousand surf tourists come to the country generating revenues of over $500 million a year. Panama has also been investing efforts in holding surf championships in the country and has managed to make this segment now represent 15% of its tourism revenue.
The advantages offered by the country for more than 20 million surfers worldwide, makes the sport as a key ingredient in tourism development.
Among the advantages of this tourism generating sport is the fact that it does not require much infrastructure in order to start generating revenue, what really counts is the impact of the waves, which is a natural resource.
The aim is to attract tourists through means of hosting international surfing tournaments, an activity which moves more than 35 million people worldwide.
Lucy Valenti, chief executive of the tourism company Turismo e Inversiones S.A.SA states that "there is a decision to support the implementation of international tournaments which are putting Nicaragua on the world surfing map".
The Panamanian Tourism Authority (PTA) will promote the country to make it an international surfing spot.
Salomón Shamah, PTA administrator, commented: "...this activity does not only generate a lot of international attention, but also drives many tourists. Surfers... are high quality tourists, aware of the enviroment".
In the first half of the year the country received $199 million more than in the same period last year.
Unlike previous years, Costa Rica is not located at the top of the list of countries attracting the most foreign direct investment in Central America, but has been replaced by countries like El Salvador and Nicaragua, who years ago were at the bottom of the list.
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