Tourists flock to El Salvador despite Bitcoin bear market

Tourism in El Salvador soared in the first half of 2022. Up 82.8% this year alone, there were 1.1 million visitors to El Salvador this year, according to government figures. And this despite the price of Bitcoin (BTC) which has fallen by almost 50% since January 1st.

Data from the World Travel Organization backs up the claims. The small Central American country is internationally recognized as “one of the countries with the best tourism recovery rate in the region in January 2022”.

The UNWTO report states that some “Central American destinations have the best results compared to 2019”, including El Salvador at +81% compared to 2019, i.e. pre-pandemic levels.

Contrary to Wall Street Journal reports that El Salvador’s bet on bitcoin to attract tourists “didn’t work”, visits in the first half of this year almost exceed the total number of visits in 2019: 1, 1 million people visited the country in six months, compared to a total of 1.2 million last year.

In a radio interview, the Director General of Strategic Projects of the Ministry of Tourism of El Salvador, Alex Bonilla, explained that during the summer vacation period, the country can expect “57,500 international visitors , which will generate $60 million in foreign exchange during this period. holiday.” The 1.2 million figure mark is expected to be broken soon.

Since El Salvador adopted Bitcoin as legal tender, thousands of Bitcoiners have made the move. Renowned Bitcoiners such as Jeff Booth, entrepreneur and author of Tomorrow’s Prize, Obi Nwosu, CEO of Fedimint, the decentralized community custody solution, and Samson Mow, CEO of Jan3, have all made pilgrimages to El Salvador.

As Bitcoin analyst Tone Vays said of his visit to El Salvador, “99.9% of the world had no idea where this country was; maybe 98% didn’t know this country ever existed – they’re [El Salvador] definitely on the map now. Bitcoin advocates are keen to bring home exuberant tales of their trip to the land of volcanoes. At the same time, bitcoin-centric companies are motivated to make El Salvador’s bitcoin game a success.

Max Keizer and Stacey Herbert, Bitcoin OGs, chose to settle in El Salvador and are now basing their podcasting and broadcasting operations in El Salvador. Under the Bitcoin Bill, residence in El Salvador could effectively be purchased for 3 BTC, or $66,000 at the time of writing, as part of an investment in the country.

Related: Morgan Stanley Encourages Investors to Buy Battered El Salvador Eurobonds

El Salvador, known as “El Hodlador” in some circles, also hosted a host of central bankers in May this year. The influential group of visitors “did not discuss Bitcoin,” according to the Central Bank of Paraguay, whose delegate was a tourist in El Salvador. However, there were numerous photos of the 44 central bankers and economists using the Bitcoin Beach Wallet in El Zonte, the birthplace of BTC adoption in the country.

The capital, San Salvador, hosts the Adopting Bitcoin conference, a Lightning Summit in November this year. More than 80 Bitcoin and Lightning Network experts will take the stage at the conference, along with representatives from Blockstream, Spiral, and the government of El Salvador.