Liverpool, May 17th 2012 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – A total of 312,725 international tourists have visited Venezuela between January and April 2012, a figure which represents almost a 50% increase compared with the same period last year.
The figures concerning the country’s tourism industry were confirmed on Wednesday by tourism minister Andrew Fleming, on television show Contragolpe. The minister said that the government’s attempts to promote the country’s image abroad were beginning to make headway in spite of an international campaign in the media to depict the Venezuela as a violent crime hotspot.
“The media says that Venezuela is unsafe, unstable and dangerous; that the revolution, commander-president Chavez, his government and we revolutionaries eat people. The revolution has managed to break and knock down this media mould… which has dealt with the image of Venezuela in a disrespectful and even irresponsible way,” he said
Fleming pointed out that whilst Mexico was a much more violent country than Venezuela, it enjoyed a booming tourist industry as a result of its sympathetic treatment in the press, with visitors coming to visit the Central American country from all over the world. The minister also announced that the government would look to increase the amount of tourists visiting Venezuela in the coming years in light of the new figures.
“We thought that in the medium term the goal was to try and get about 1 million tourists travelling to Venezuela, but with this growth we have been obliged to reformulate this goal, which is the result of a promotional campaign,” he added.
According to Minister Fleming, the rise in tourist numbers to the country can also be attributed to increased government investment in transport, recreational and cultural facilities in recent years.
Most tourism to Venezuela comes from other Latin American countries such as Colombia, Brazil and Argentina, with visitors from European countries such as Germany, France, Italy and the United Kingdom coming in second. The government has also said that it will try and increase its tourism links with both China and Russia.