Number of U.S. flights down to 10 per week: The inventory of woes for those seeking to market to Venezuela’s international travelers continues to grow larger. Sparing the reader doleful adjectives—we’ve run out of them—here are some of the recent developments affecting the flow of outbound travel from the country.
- Venezuelans have been informed that expired passports are valid for another two years because the government has run out of paper and ink to print new ones. That is, President Nicolás Maduro has signed an emergency decree to extend their validity because of chronic shortages at the national passport agency. At least a million Venezuelans have been waiting months for new documents and have been unable to travel in the interim.
- Scheduled to go into effect this week (Oct. 18) was a revised version of President Donald Trump’s ban on travel to the United States from certain countries. Originally aimed at six countries, the new ban now covers eight, including a new addition, Venezuela. The ban on travel from Venezuela covers certain government officials. (On Oct. 17, a federal judge issued an order blocking the Trump Administration from implementing the ban.)
- The number of airlines making international connections to and from Venezuela is down to eight: Air Europa, Air France, American Airlines, Avio Airlines, Caribbean Airlines, Copa Airlines, Iberia and TAME. (Earlier, on July 1st, the remaining U.S. legacy carrier serving the country, American Airlines, announced a reduction in its schedule to Venezuela from 48 weekly flights to 10. United and Delta currently have no flights from or to the country.) 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.
- The situation is even worse for those contemplating a visit for either business or leisure to the country.
At the beginning of August, the British Foreign Office (FCO) advised against all but essential travel to the entire country, citing “ongoing unrest and instability.” It also urged anyone in the country to consider leaving and warned that the British embassy may be limited in its ability to provide assistance. In a recent update to that advisory, the FCO has warned of other issues, including travelers being asked to pay bribes, gasoline shortages, and outbursts of violence. It warns against all travel to parts of the country along the border with Colombia, owing to the presence of drug traffickers and illegal armed groups. “The FCO advises against all but essential travel to the remaining areas of Venezuela, due to ongoing crime and instability,” said the FCO.
What the Table Tells Us: Though the latest available figures for arrivals to the U.S. for 2017 are partial—they run through April 2017—they show a trend line that is not encouraging for the American travel supplier.