El Salvador would like to increase tourism in the country. Foreign tourists, with their dollars to spend, represent a possible source of positive economic growth, and the country has many assets to showcase if it could figure out how to package them.
A couple of stories recently make this point. The first is a story titled El Salvador puts out a welcome mat by a travel writer on Canada.com. The story begins:
This Central American country is cautiously emerging from a civil war and devastating earthquake to take its first steps as a tourist destination.and ends with:
Do I recommend El Salvador? Yes. Highly. However, as in any situation anywhere, let caution and discretion be your first guide.
The Associated Press recently ran this story about the efforts of Central American countries to promote tourism. Included are statistics about El Salvador's tourism industry:
For El Salvador and Guatemala, two countries that survived years of civil conflict, tourism has become the countries' second-largest source of income, after money sent home by migrants living in the United States.
Last year, 13 years after peace accords ended that country's civil war, 1.1 million people visited El Salvador and spent $644 million. In Guatemala, where the civil war ended in 1996, 1.3 million tourists visited, spending $868 million.