The Bolivian Association of Travel and Tourism Agencies (ABAVYT) and the Bolivian Hotel Chamber report a situation of virtual agony in the absence of a reactivation policy and the obstacles that Supreme Decree 4574 places on tourists under the pretext of biosecurity measures. , while the rest of the population is already experiencing a situation of virtual normality.
The president of the Bolivian Hotel Chamber, Luis Ampuero, explained to Erbol that the pandemic has reduced the tourist flow of 1.5 million tourists by 90%, leaving classic tourism areas empty in the city of La Paz and other capitals of the department. .
“Today there is an unfortunate picture: closed hotels, closed restaurants and closed tourism agencies, unemployed tour operators and guides, hotels that no longer have a reason to open because there is no one to come. This is affecting us very hard, we see the future with optimism, but we need not only incentives but also clear policies”, declared Ampuero, who is also a spokesperson for the Bolivian Alliance for the Defense of Tourism and the Bolivian Product.
He explained that one of the obstacles is DS 4574, which maintains the obligation of tourists to show PCR proof of entry to Bolivia and for each change of route made by the visitor, which is a form of coercion by the State, without considering that in other countries the PCR test has already been dismantled and in Bolivia “they are more papist than the pope.”
He announced that this Monday, the hotel sector will lead a nationwide mobilization demanding a change in government policy so that the hotel and tourism sector is reactivated.
For its part, ABAVYT declared a state of emergency because a large number of companies in its production chain: travel agencies, tour operators, hotels, airlines, tourist transport, tour guides, artisans, gastronomes, etc., are struggling to survive since local tourism is not enough to cover their tax, administrative and operating expenses.
They denounce that the absence of reactivation plans generates a negative effect on more than 2,000 companies that work in the sector and agree that the requirement to present the RT-PCR test to everyone who enters the country goes against the reactivation , causing the tourist to reconsider that expense when choosing Bolivia as their next vacation destination.
They add that the lack of sound policies in commercial aviation for an adequate connectivity of Bolivia with other countries, are detrimental to private, national and foreign airlines, limiting the interest of foreign airlines to approach to operate in our country, when The largest contribution of the sector to GDP is through the income of foreign currency left by foreign tourists.
Travel Agencies also demand the abrogation of DS 4574 and the implementation of specific policies to reactivate tourism, creating measures that do not affect foreign tourists or companies that are part of the tourism value chain.