El Salvador’s decision to make bitcoin an official payment method within the country’s borders has positively affected the local tourism industry, the country’s Minister of Tourism said. Since then, the sector has grown by more than 30%, as most visitors come from the United States of America.
Tourists want to explore the country that loves Bitcoin
Similar to other Latin American nations, the tourism sector contributes a significant portion of El Salvador’s GDP. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 2.5 million travelers visited the country each year. Unfortunately, the health disaster has reduced travel activities to a minimum in 2020 and 2021.
According to for the Minister of Tourism of El Salvador – Morena Valdez – there has been some movement in the space in recent months. Interestingly, she said that bitcoin adoption is the main reason why more and more people want to visit the Central American nation:
“We did a survey to check the before and after activity of bitcoin. The tourism sector increased in November and December. This has increased by over 30%.”
Morena Valdez, Source: 102Nueve
She also added that the main flow of tourists has changed. Before the adoption of bitcoin, most people visiting El Salvador came from neighboring countries like Honduras, Guatemala and Nicaragua. The picture looks different now as 60% of tourists come from the US.
Travelers also spent more money during their stay in El Salvador. While the Ministry expected profits of $800,000, the actual figure was more than $1.4 million in foreign currency revenue.
It seems that visitors are not only impressed by white sand beaches, volcanoes and ancient ruins. They also find it intriguing to explore the first country where the main cryptocurrency serves as an official means of payment.
El Salvador’s BTC Projects
In addition to adopting the main digital asset as legal tender, the Salvadoran government has also purchased bitcoin on a macroeconomic level. After its last purchase in January, El Salvador holds 1,801 BTC, equivalent to around $68 million (calculated at today’s prices).
President Nayib Bukele and his administration have involved their participation in some interesting projects. In October 2021, they promised to use some of the profits accrued from bitcoin purchases (at the time, they totaled nearly $4 million) to create a massive veterinary hospital. Shortly after, the government declared that it would use some investment gains to build 20 bitcoin schools.
Subsequently, Bukele announced plans to create an entire city focused on the digital asset. It will be located in the eastern region of La Union and will receive geothermal energy from a volcano. The leader further revealed that the city will have an airport, residential and commercial areas, and a central square that looks like the BTC symbol seen from the air.
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