The tourism minister says Bitcoin adoption has made the country a more attractive tourist destination. The Salvadoran President had previously announced that the country’s GDP grew over 10% in 2021.
The decision in September 2021 by El Salvador to adopt Bitcoin as legal tender has produced a positive impact not only on the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) but the local tourist industry as well. The report by Salvadoran tourism minister Morena Valdez says the industry surged over 30% since BTC’s adoption last year. Speaking during an interview with local news agency El Salvador News English, Valdez said:
“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%.”
As many as 60% of the tourists come from the United States
According to Valdez, the adoption of Bitcoin increased the number of tourists coming from the United States. She stated that before enacting the Bitcoin law, most visitors came from neighboring Central American countries such as Honduras, Guatemala, and Nicaragua. She revealed that currently, as many as 60% of the tourists come from the United States. As per the minister, travelers coming into the country were spending more money. She added:
“We had projected $800,000 in foreign exchange, but we obtained more than $1,400 million of income in foreign currency.”
The news about the surge in tourist numbers comes hot on the heels of an announcement by the country’s pro-Bitcoin president Nayib Bukele that El Salvador’s GDP had grown by a whopping 10.3% in 2021. Bukele stated that the country’s exports, an essential component of their economic growth, increased by 13% year-over-year in January 2022.
The Salvadoran government has bought Bitcoin on a macro-economic level
El Salvador formally adopted Bitcoin as legal tender in September 2021. A barrage of criticism from skeptics followed, with international financial institutions showing their displeasure at the decision. Besides making BTC legal tender alongside the USD, the Salvadoran government has bought Bitcoin on a macro-economic level. The country now owns some 1,801 Bitcoins, whose value is equivalent to $68 million at the current price.
President Nayib Bukele and his administration are also at the forefront of promoting some exciting 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 digital assets. The Bitcoin city will be located in the eastern region of La Union and will get geothermal power from a volcano. Bukele further revealed that the city would have an airport, residential and commercial areas, and a central plaza that looks like the BTC symbol from the air.
Tom is a freelance writer with over 10-years’ experience in content creation, blog writing, and SEO specializing in the blockchain and cryptocurrency niche. As a philosophical figurehead, he believes that to make our world a better place, we must invest in incorruptible products and procedures, of which Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are leading examples.