No wonder tourists don’t wanna come back here

“Santiago Mariño” Margarita International Airport

Yesterday, Juan Cristobal picked apart a report from the BBC about the decline of foreign tourism in Venezuela. It’s an overdetermined problem: there’s more than one explanation, and each on its own would be sufficient to account for the phenomenon.

Take the case of the Santiago Mariño International Airport, which serves a place that should be a tourist magnet: Margarita Island.

In the last month alone, the airport suffered a water shortage, illegal reselling of tickets, failing infrastructure conditions and constant excesses of security people, which could trigger the withdrawal of tour operators.

These problems should cause the firing of the current Airport head, General Luis Graterol Caraballo. And, indeed, General Graterol will not be running Santiago Mariño Airport much longer…because he’s now the new head of Venezuela’s main airport in Maiquetia! (Which, truth be told, isn’t in much better conditions).

He’s not just been promoted, but he’s also the head of Aeropostal, an airline taken over by the State from a certain drug kingpin. And he’s on the board of Venezuelan flag carrier Conviasa as well. My God, just hand him control of the Civil Aviation Institute (INAC) and make him the Venezuelan “sky czar” already.

General Graterol is exhibit A for why our tourism sector está como está. You reward incompetence with promotions consistently enough and on a large scale enough like that and what you end up with is…the Chávez era.

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