Margarita Island, The Roques Archipelago, Orinoco delta, the Amazon, the Canaima national park and the Roraima mount are extremely beautiful places and a good example of Venezuela’s tourism potential.
Venezuela stands out for its variety of landscapes that includes: beaches, mountains, jungles, forests and cities, there’s a lot to see and visit.
Juan Carlos Guinand, expert on tourism in Venezuela explains that “it is a country big enough to have variety of places and small enough so you can see them on the same day”.
Despite the fact that Venezuela has all the potential, it has never been a recognized tourism destination.
The World Economic Forum, on its Tourism competitiveness ranking of 2015, placed Venezuela as the 110 of 141 countries, just under Albania, Kuwait, Nicaragua and El Salvador. In the same year tourism income reached US$575 million, a very low number compared to, for example, Peru that grasped US$10.000 million.
“Venezuela has never been a tourist country, because it was much easier to produce and sell oil” says Guinand, “the tourism sector implies a lot of effort: development of communication channels, education, infrastructure, airlines, security”
Even though, tourism was never seen as an income source, the recent deterioration of oil prices, the low national production and the strong economic crisis, made Venezuela search to diversify its economy.
On November last year, President Nicolas Maduro announced his interest on the tourism sector and the establishment of a collaboration agreement with North American multinational Marriot. The agreement included the opening of two new hotels that would charge tourists on US dollars to help the country’s currency income.
Additionally, the hotel Venetur Margarita in Nueva Esparta state, held last year’s International Tourism Fair (FitVen). Venezuela’s minister of tourism, Marleny Contreras, explained that FitVen featured a new concept, focused on national and international tourist offer, foreign exchange earnings and job creation, as part of the development of the Tourism Engine of the Bolivarian Economic Agenda, “We have been demonstrating the full potential for investment, and we are trying to open the doors for anyone who wants to invest in Venezuela,” she said.
She further said that large hotel chains are interested in developing the first line of action of the Tourism Engine that is anchored in infrastructure, “We received more than 800 proposals to improve the sector and create different working tables supported by 100 concrete projects that are feasible and viable.”
For first time in history Venezuela has a great opportunity to make tourism its strength and raise the currencies that the nation’s economy very much needs.