Published on : Wednesday, December 6, 2017
The Venezuelan Vice President Tareck El Aissami is hard to beat. El Aissami said at a trade fair on Margarita Island last week, “Our country was dependent on oil for many years, but now has come the time of tourism for economic development. Tourism has become the first engine of economic development in our country.”
Many airlines that have pulled out of Venezuela include Brazil’s Gol, Lufthansa, United and Aeromexico. Scarcity has left even high-end hotels short of linens and elevator parts, according to a recent report on Venezuelan tourism. “Even if you’re not worried about safety, visiting Venezuela is a logistical nightmare,” said Fernando Freijedo, Venezuela analyst for the Economist Intelligence Unit.
Although international visitors came to the country at one point of time, the view in Venezuela today is that of a slow motion debacle.
El Aissami’s assertions might best be seen as another addition to the genre of Bolivarian magical realism. “It’s a lot like Maduro’s plan to restructure debt,” said Freijedo. “Every once in a while we hear announcements like this. There’s no investment plan, and nothing comes of it. In the end, what’s left is a sound bite.”
In Venezuela, wasted opportunities multiply the tragedy. Few nations, after all, are so greatly endowed. The country straddling the Andes and the Caribbean boasts the world’s highest waterfall, jungle-clad islands, oceanfront to die for, snowcapped mountains, and probably the continent’s yummiest cornmeal treats, if you can still find them. Venezuela has everything a tourist could want, but at a cost that few will be willing to pay.