In 2019, El Salvador registered 2.6 million arrivals, representing US$ 1.777 million in international tourism receipts, according to estimates by the Ministry of Tourism (MITUR, in Spanish). In 2018, the country received 2.5 million visitors and reported US$1.532 million in revenues.
Morena Valdez, Minister of Tourism, said that the downgrade in the travel alert issued by the United States to its citizens favored the influx of visitors from that country.
“There were two peak stages: July [and the] October-November [period], increasing the entry of tourists from North America; that has a lot to do with the fact that they downgraded the alert just in the last quarter. Just when the alert goes down, more people from the United States come,” said the Minister.
The United States had issued a Level 3 Travel Alert for El Salvador, meaning that it recommends its citizens to reconsider traveling to the country; but last October, it downgraded the alert to Level 2: this means to exercise increased caution than normal when traveling to El Salvador.
For 2020, the government has allocated MITUR a budget of US$27 million, plus additional projects through external financings, such as the loan from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) for the coastal areas and the cooperation offered by China.
“While it is true [that] Surf City is our anchor program to position ourselves at international level (...), alongside this we are working all the specialized tourism part, meaning that all those towns that are already developed as a destination will be supported with public structure,” said the Minister.