The WTO report notes that some “Central American destinations have the best results compared to 2019,” including El Salvador with +81% compared to 2019, or pre-pandemic levels.
Contrary to reports from the Wall Street Journal that El Salvador’s bet on bitcoin to attract tourists “did not work,” visits in the first half of this year exceeded total visits in 2019: 1.1 million people visited the country in six months, compared to the year’s total past 1.2 million.
In a radio interview, Director General of Strategic Projects at El Salvador’s Ministry of Tourism, 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 holiday.” The 1.2 million mark is expected to be overcome soon.
Since El Salvador adopted Bitcoin as legal tender, thousands of Bitcoins have made the journey. Big-name bitcoins such as Jeff Booth, entrepreneur and author of Price of Tomorrow, Obi Nwosu, CEO of Fedimint, a decentralized community custody solution, and Samson Mow, CEO of Jan3, made a pilgrimage to El Salvador.
As Bitcoin Analyst Ton Vaez said of his visit to El Salvador, “99.9% of the world has no idea where this country is; perhaps 98% didn’t know this country existed at all – they [El Salvador] are definitely on the map right now.” Bitcoin advocates are keen to bring in vivid tales of their journey to the land of volcanoes. At the same time, Bitcoin-focused companies have an incentive to make Bitcoin in El Salvador play a successful role.
Related: Morgan Stanley encourages investors to buy Eurobonds in El Salvador
Bitcoin OGs Max Keizer and Stacey Herbert have chosen to reside in El Salvador and are now based in El Salvador for broadcasts and broadcasts. As part of the Bitcoin bill, residency in El Salvador can actually be purchased for 3 BTC, or $66,000 at the time of writing, as part of the investment in the country. Escape to El Salvador, a professional community that helps people relocate to El Salvador, told Cointelegraph that the 3 BTC residency strategy has merged into a “volcano bond offering.” They told Cointelegraph:
“It doesn’t automatically mean you’re a resident, you still have to apply, but you can use collectibles as a justification to apply, like a student can use an acceptance letter from a university to get a ‘student visa.’ There is still a process.”
El Salvador, known as “The Hoodador” in some circles, also hosted a group of central bank governors in May this year. The influential visitor group “did not discuss bitcoin,” according to Paraguay’s central bank, whose delegate was a tourist in El Salvador. However, there were numerous photos of 44 central bankers and economists using Bitcoin Beach Wallet in El Zonte, the birthplace of BTC adoption in the country.
The capital, San Salvador, is hosting the Bitcoin Adoption Conference, a Lightning Summit in November of this year. Over 80 experts from Bitcoin and the Lightning Network will take to the stage during the conference, with representatives from Blockstream, Spiral and the government of El Salvador.