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El Salvador Tourism Increases 30% Since Bitcoin Became Legal Tender

2 mins
Updated by Kyle Baird
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In Brief

  • El Salvador’s tourism sees 1.4 million visitors instead of the expected 1.1 million visitors.
  • 60% of foreign tourists were from the United States.
  • El Salvador is looking to boost its economy with bitcoin in various ways.
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Tourism in El Salvador has increased by 30% since bitcoin was introduced as legal tender. on Sept 7, 2021. The country’s Minister of Tourism revealed the information, saying that there was an increase in the Q4 2021, 300 million or so more than expected.

El Salvador’s decision to make bitcoin legal tender has paid off as far as tourism is concerned. The law has increased tourism by 30%, according to local media reports on Feb 21. The report said that the tourism sector is one of the most important items for the country’s economic growth — with President Nayib Bukele placing it as the second economic boost for 2022.

It appears that making bitcoin legal tender has put El Salvador on the map of tourists, with foreign tourists outside of the continent increasing. Previously, many of the tourists would come from neighboring countries in Central America. Tourists from the United States make up 60% of the figure.

Minister of Tourism Morena Valdez said that the sector’s bounceback following the pandemic has exceeded expectations. The government aimed for 1.1 million visitors, hitting a target of 1.4 million instead. 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%.”

This will please the El Salvador government, which has received some flak for its bitcoin-related moves in the past. Citizens have protested, though in recent months no such news has been reported. There may even be more benefits for foreign investors, however, as the country is considering giving them citizenship.

El Salvador benefitting from the bitcoin move

The decision to introduce bitcoin so strongly into the economy sparked global conversations. President Bukele was firm in his commitment, saying that bitcoin would bring tremendous benefits to the economy.

Bukele has said that bitcoin usage has exceeded expectations. Last year, over two million citizens began using the Chivo Wallet within a month of its introduction.

However, those outside the country seem to think otherwise. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has urged El Salvador to drop bitcoin as a currency, citing financial stability risks. Moody’s, meanwhile, has raised El Salvador’s risk profile.

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Rahul Nambiampurath
Rahul Nambiampurath's cryptocurrency journey first began in 2014 when he stumbled upon Satoshi's Bitcoin whitepaper. With a bachelor's degree in Commerce and an MBA in Finance from Sikkim Manipal University, he was among the few that first recognized the sheer untapped potential of decentralized technologies. Since then, he has helped DeFi platforms like Balancer and Sidus Heroes — a web3 metaverse — as well as CEXs like Bitso (Mexico's biggest) and Overbit to reach new heights with his...
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