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Venezuela: European cruise ship docks at Margarita Island port for first time in 15 years | International

Venezuela: European cruise ship docks at Margarita Island port for first time in 15 years |  International

On Tuesday, 498 Spanish, French, German, Swiss, Italian and Belgian tourists disembarked from the German ship Amadea ashore on the Margarita, a port of call from the Venezuelan island that sank 15 years ago when ships of this type stopped and sank. At the worst moments of the oil country’s economic crisis, it was this year Still starting to take off with an uncertain recovery. The Bahamas-flagged vessel from Trinidad and Tobago left Venezuela a few hours later on its way to the island of Bonaire.

The ship’s arrival included adaptations of the port of El Guamache in eastern Venezuela, the construction of a visitor access boulevard and the creation of a path through the beaches and historical buildings on the island. Cabinet Ministers Nicolás Maduro They personally receive tourists. Ali Patron, head of the tourism department, pointed out that the arrival “breaks the cellophane of unilateral coercive measures that have prevented cruise ships from coming from Europe for years”. The voyage, despite the official’s expectations, did not include this destination in the regular route of charter and shipping companies organized by a private operator.

“Any influx that adds international travelers is a win for Venezuela. It’s great news for the port of El Guamache, but it’s a unique activity, it’s a touch, we don’t have any information that it’s going to be a constant,” said Reynaldo Pulido, Vice President of Conseturismo. Department in Venezuela. It’s the same. Russians have become regular guests Tourist destinations in the country, which paused during the first months of war-induced restrictions, have rebounded since last October to Margarita, Canaima, Las Roques and Caracas.

Venezuela is experiencing a downturn in its diplomatic relations And commercially, amid a shift in direction offered by the Chavista government, but also amid a global geopolitical chessboard movement created by Russia’s war in Ukraine. Beyond International Sanctions It started in 2017 and became a problem in 2019. The South American country, with its long beaches and beach resort towns, fell off the tourist radar several years ago due to a severe economic crisis and insecurity. Exchange rates and prices imposed by Hugo Chávez’s so-called Bolivarian socialism, which recorded up to 25,000 murders a year. Between 2013 and 2017, air connections to Venezuela were drastically reduced, and at least 15 major international airlines — such as Lufthansa, TAP, Delta, United Airlines, Air Canada, Aerolíneas Argentina, Gol and Avianca — withdrew from Caracas to serve their destinations. The enormous debts accumulated by the government during the period of foreign exchange controls prevented the repatriation of capital generated in the country.

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For Pulido, after almost a decade of free fall, tourism in Venezuela is beginning a slow but sustained growth, with many slopes to overcome. According to his calculations, the average hotel occupancy will be 40% in 2022, which can be considered positive for a sector that is completely depressed, but it is also diluted in the face of the taxation that Chavismo has used to get more income. Earnings and the entire business sector is considered volatile. “We have to see how the tourist destinations develop with our own countrymen and luxury tourism, but it will be difficult until the Venezuelan pocket is like this. Another chasm before us to compete is public services, but the private infrastructure has prepared itself to advance over the years because we are endlessly stubborn,” comments the businessman.

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Airline reconnection with the U.S. and elsewhere, currently blocked by Treasury Department sanctions, is another pending deal that could change this year if the White House’s easing of last year’s deal with Miraflores continues. Sanctions have not been fully lifted, but in early 2023, not only this German cruise ship docked in Margarita, but also a ship from American Chevron arrived in the western state of Julia to load crude oil. Oil will be refined in the North American country, according to Argus Agency, as part of the licenses recently awarded to the company by the Joe Biden administration. It will show signs of a weak recovery, but with major distortions and imbalances, unlike in 2022, which will have an impact on the economy. Coming out of four years of high inflation is in good shape And an increase in oil production, the specter of high inflation is haunting again this year.

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