This chart shows the evolution across time of the amount of foreign tourists to American countries outside North America and huge Argentina and Brazil. Apart from a group of hardly known islands, you have them all: from Aruba, Colombia and Peru to Venezuela. I got the data from the World Bank.
The red dotted line at the bottom represents Venezuela.
Some things you can spot right away:
- Venezuela receives less foreign tourists now than in 1997, but has basically got the same amount of tourists
- Cuba had as many foreign visitors as Venezuela in 1998 whereas now it has more than 5 times the tourists Venezuela gets. A similar case goes for Guatemala, Costa Rican, Ecuador and other countries.
- Even El Salvador, formerly described by someone I knew as Central America's Armpit - surpassed Venezuela
- The same goes for Honduras, in spite of its also horrible murder rates
- Aruba, a tiny tiny little island off the coast of Venezuela with fewer beaches than those we have in just a fraction of the Paraguana region, has almost twice as many tourists as Venezuela from Guajira up to Guyana.
- Few countries get less visitors than Venezuela: a few tiny islands that can hardly receive more tourists, natural-disaster-ravaged, extremely poor Haiti and the tiny group of Guyana and Suriname.
Venezuela has never received many tourists because 1) the country has been very dependent on oil, 2) it has been rather expensive and 3) the authorities have never ever developed infrastructure.
I remember having visited the ministry of tourism in the early nineties to find out what the hell they were doing. Apparently, their main concern was to publish posters of how beautiful Venezuela was and producing some examinations for tourist guides.
Now, in the year 2014, we haven't got proper tourist offices or the like just yet. We get posters of the "Comandante Eterno" saluting foreign tourists when they arrive. Things have got grimmer and grimmer. Other bloggers have written about the case of former Miss Venezuela, Miss Spears, who was recently murdered, together with her husband and in front of their little child, while on a tourist visit to her home country. She died in similarly horrible circumstances as many others that same day. The difference was that she was a well-known figure who was currently living abroad and came to Venezuela to promote its tourism.
|This doesn't count if you don't have the people to take care of tourists or to protect the environment|
Venezuela's murder rate went from 19 murders per 100 000 inhabitants in 1999, when Chávez started to rule, to 34 in 2002 to 45+ to 70 now, depending on what statistics you want to believe (the government stopped sending murder numbers to United Nations in 2002).
There are simply more tourists everywhere in the year 2014 than 15 years ago. Not only are there more people but the middle class has grown almost everywhere in emerging markets and there are more flights. In spite of that, Venezuela's at the bottom and still the "minister of the Popular Power for Tourism" - a relative of yet another left-winged military man- has the chutzpah to brag about how he is promoting tourism.