Arrivals from Venezuela Plummeted 26 percent in Three Years: The implosion of Venezuela’s society and economy has accelerated with last week’s national plebiscite, boycotted by opposition parties that will give Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro virtually unchecked powers. The vote has exacerbated a dire situation for those who’ve promoted the U.S. travel product in the country, whose arrival numbers had grown steadily in the past decade, until the nation’s oil-export driven economy collapsed and its currency has proved to be virtually worthless on the international marketplace.
The most direct impact of the economic chaos in Venezuela—along with the collapse of its currency, the Bolivar—on outbound tourism is seen in air service. The Venezuelan government owes 24 airlines approximately $ 3.7 billion. This is because the airlines, which have collected airfares and related costs in Bolivars, cannot get the government to repatriate the money into their own currencies, or dollars. As a result of this, 10 major carriers have dropped service to and from Venezuela.
Airlines that have dropped service to and from Venezuela
At the same time, hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans have fled, or are fleeing the country seeking asylum elsewhere in South America or in the United States. The Washington Post reported on August 6 that:
—Argentina has more than doubled the number of temporary resident permits issued to Venezuelans every year since 2014, reaching 35,600 in May 2017, according to Argentine immigration authorities;
—Chile has more than quadrupled its visas to Venezuelans in recent years, from 1,463 in 2013 to 8,381 in 2015;
—Peru has received more than 10,000 Venezuelan requests to stay so far in 2017, immigration authorities told Human Rights Watch;
—Brazil has a backlog of thousands of Venezuelan asylum applications; and
—Venezuela last year sent more asylum seekers to the United States than any other country—some 18,000—according to reports.
While there are no authoritative studies or profiles of those who are fleeing Venezuela, one gets the impression, from reviewing anecdotal accounts of the exodus of its citizens, that the country is losing a sizable component of its middle-class professional population. This is the same segment of the nation’s population that is needed to staff the managerial, IT and logistical and operational needs of the travel and tourism industry.
And, on the basis of what we at the INBOUND Report have seen, it looks as if the situation is going to get worse before it gets better.