El Salvador’s decision to make bitcoin an official payment method inside the nation’s borders has positively affected the local tourism industry, said the country’s Minister of Tourism. Since then, the sector has been up by more than 30% as most visitors come from the United States of America.
Tourists Want to Explore The Bitcoin-Loving Country
Similar to other Latin American nations, the tourism sector contributes a significant part of El Salvador’s GDP. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 2.5 million travelers visited the country each year. Unfortunately, the health disaster reduced the travel activities to a bare minimum in 2020 and 2021.
According to El Salvador’s Minister of Tourism – Morena Valdez – there has been some movement in the space in the last several months. Interestingly, she said that bitcoin’s adoption is the main reason why more and more people want to visit the Central American nation:
“We did a poll to check the activity according to the before and after of bitcoin. The tourism sector increased in November and December. This increased by more than 30%.”
She also added that the main flow of tourists has changed. Before the bitcoin adoption, most people visiting El Salvador were coming from neighboring countries such as Honduras, Guatemala, and Nicaragua. The picture looks different now as 60% of tourists come from the USA.
Travelers have also spent more money during their stay in El Salvador. While the Ministry expected profits of $800,000, the actual number was more than $1.4 million of income in foreign currency.
It seems like visitors are not only impressed by white sandy beaches, volcanoes, and ancient ruins. They also find it intriguing to explore the first country where the primary cryptocurrency serves as an official means of payment.
El Salvador’s BTC Projects
Apart from embracing the leading digital asset as a legal tender, the Salvadoran government has also bought bitcoin on a macro-economic level. After its latest purchase in January, El Salvador owns 1,801 BTC, equivalent to around $68 million (calculated at today’s prices).
President Nayib Bukele and his administration involved their holdings in some interesting projects. In October 2021, they vowed to employ some profits accumulated from bitcoin purchases (back then, they totaled nearly $4 million) to create a massive veterinary hospital. Shortly after, the government stated 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 get geothermal power from a volcano. The leader further revealed that the city will have an airport, residential and commercial areas, and a central plaza that looks like the BTC symbol from the air.
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