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Bitcoin, Surf & My Crackdown on Gangs Bringing More Tourists than Ever to El Salvador, Says Bukele

Tim Alper
Last updated: | 2 min read
Source: Twitter/@Bitcoinbeach


International tourism is on the increase in El Salvador. And the country’s leader, President Nayib Bukele, says that his policies – including bitcoin (BTC) adoption – are the chief reasons why more holiday-goers are choosing to visit the Central American nation.

Bukele last year masterminded a law that gave BTC legal tender status. He took to Twitter to celebrate the fact that, per World Tourism Organization data, El Salvador ranked in the top 15 of nations of “best-performing [international] destinations in terms of earnings” in the January to May 2022 period.

The body measured real percentage change over 2019 data and analyzed international tourism receipts as part of its research.

Although this data showed that tourism to El Salvador has risen by 6% in the post-coronavirus pandemic period, far less than #1-placed Rep. Moldova’s 86%, the rise is still significant. El Salvador was the highest-placing Latin American nation, and its 6% was double the score of the only other Americas destination in the top 15 – Mexico.

In his Twitter post, Bukele noted that “only a handful of countries” had been “able to recover” their tourism sectors to “pre-pandemic levels.”

Because the World Tourism Organization’s data covered international tourism, Bukele explained, the “reasons behind” the rise were “mostly bitcoin and surfing.”

Bukele also shared Google Mobility Report data that indicated people – international tourists and Salvadorans alike – had spent more time in retail and recreation facilities, parks, stores, and transit stations in 2022 and 2021 than they did in 2020.

As such, the Salvadoran President could not resist the urge to pat himself on the back once more, writing in conclusion:

“Internal tourism is growing even more, mainly because of our crackdown on gangs.”

The government’s war on the pandillas street gangs has polarized the international community, with many critics claiming that Bukele’s regime has violated the human rights of both prisoners and those suspected of gang membership.

But Bukele has claimed that his policy has been an unrivaled success, with the murder rate dropping to zero on consecutive days for the first time in several years.

He said,

“[El Salvador] has gone from being the most dangerous country in the world to the safest nation in Latin America.”

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