President Nicolas Maduro signed the latest exchange agreement Monday authorizing the tourism sector to charge in dollars. The agreement, No. 36, will take effect immediately, announced Maduro from Miraflores Palace in Caracas via a live radio and television broadcast.
The latest tourism agreement now requires service providers to retain 40 percent of foreign currency earnings while 60 percent will be sold to the Central Bank of Venezuela at the floating DICOM rate. The agreement stipulates that the 40 percent should be invested in improvements and upkeep for the service provider.
Meanwhile, Tourism Minister Marlenys Contreras and Arnaldo Añes, board member of Avior Airlines, announced air-fleet expansion and new transatlantic travel routes for 2017. The expansion will see the Venezuelan private carrier acquire six new Airbus 340-300 models which have a capacity for 255 passengers. The latest additions to the air-fleet are a USD $150 million investment, confirmed Añes.
"The first [planes] have arrived and we are in the process of certifying the transatlantic routes to Portugal and Italy," explained Añes. He continued that the new planes will also connect Margarita Island, Nueva Esparta state to Colombian destinations, Medellín and Bogotá. Additionally, they will open a route to Guayaquil, Ecuador.
Contreras also announced that Venezuela will host the Annual Meeting of the World Tourism Organization for Sustainable Tourism in addition to the Annual Meeting of the Association of Caribbean States in 2017. "We have a country that offers different products: sun and beach, mountains, plains, jungle and the highest and longest cable car in the world in Merida state,” Contreras highlighted.
Last week, the Bolivarian government inaugurated the first National Tourism University (UNATUR) in Anzoátegui state in the government’s growing initiative to boost the tourism industry. The latest tourism institution is also one of the many projects part of the government’s campaign to diversify the national economy.