Two different ways to promote tourism

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Cuartel-de-la-montaña-600x400
Come to the Cuartel de la Montaña. It’s 4-Fun-tastic!

This week the International Tourism Fair (Fitur) began in Madrid. The event is one of the most important of its kind in the world. It doesn’t compare at all with our own particular version of Fitur, but that’s another story…

More than 160 countries are there to promote themselves to potential investors and customers, and Venezuela is no exception, pushing the traditional angle of our natural wonders, our sunny beaches and not everything else.

But KonZapata’s David Placer went to Fitur to visit the Venezuelan stand and found out that the main place being suggested for tourists isn’t Angel Falls, but the resting place of the comandante eterno, better known as “El Cuartel de la Montaña”.

Our Tourism Ministry describes it as “one of the most significant places of contemporary Venezuela,” as the resting place of an “unprecedented international political leader.”

Basically they are going full political in their approach. But apparently this isn’t new.

Doing the complete opposite is Ecuador, which last year launched an ambitious campaign titled “All You Need is Ecuador”. To top it, they will spend 3,8 million dollars for a 30-second ad in the Super Bowl, the highest rated TV program in U.S. television. It’s the first time in history that a foreign country promotes itself in such a big event.

As this open letter from a foreign tourist has explained the many faults of our tourism policy, it’s interesting to compare how others are doing a better job of promoting themselves. Both countries are taking quite a gamble, but it looks like one of those has a larger chance of getting attention and succeeding. And I doubt it will be Venezuela’s.

(Note: Do not miss the konzapata piece; it’s really out there. And check out Emiliana’s piece on her visit to the place last year.)

1 COMMENT

  1. Ah, how cute, chabismo is gonna promote tourism in Venezuela with, what? diablodiado’s screeching little zinger? Or with the newest charming surprise, like allowing the use of lethal force in protest control (Aka now is legal for our colectivos to blast your face off)?

  2. Or how about the joys of Maiquetia? Last time I was there, guards stole from my luggage and there was nothing but despair (hecho en socialismo) in the air.

  3. Lets see, I can go to the Mayan Riviera, Varadero or the DR, or I can fly to one of the most dangerous places in the hemisphere and visit a tomb, at a cost equivalent of a new car, and come home minus a good chunk of my luggage, having contracted a serious mosquito borne virus….which will I choose? Unless it involves family, work, or insanity, I think the choice is obvious. Chavismo killed tourism to the most beautiful country in the world, and that is truly a remarkable accomplishment.

    • But I am certain that our Drexel University friend, the esteemed Professor Ciccarello-Maher, would love to come visit Venezuela. But would he do it on his own dime?

      • It is pretty nice, visiting a land where there is no gravity, progress is swift and sure, the weak and downtrodden are lifted to great heights, you can talk with generals and Ministers about human rights any time over coffee, miracles happen every day, and your politics isn’t ostracized on Fox news every night but held up as a religion.

        So there is that, but like you say, if you have to cover the ticket and the hotel, a beach and a Corona looks pretty good.

    • That pretty much sums it up. I am surprised the international environmental community is not making more noise….but then again, where is the international human rights community?

  4. “Our Tourism Ministry describes it as “one of the most significant places of contemporary Venezuela,” as the resting place of an “unprecedented international political leader.””

    I am speechless… Sounds of gagging, retching, are all I can manage. Words formed into coherent sentences… no.

  5. If you put it in the context that this conference is in Spain and Podemos is leading the race, it might no be a crazy thing to promote El Cuartel. Targeted advertisement
    Chavismo’s goal is to remove our national identity and replace it with anything related to el comandante intergalactico. That’s the only way to endure his legacy, if such thing exist

  6. I work in tourism. Of the few tourists that come here, quite a few come for “bolivarian tourism.” One Scandinavian company called me to organize a full socialist tour, which includes a barrio, the tomb, a barrio adentro module, an escuela bolivariana, a Mission Vivienda, and what they consider the biggest chavista achievements of all: El Sistema and PDVSA. Egad!!!

    By the way, I’m against inviting average or typical tourists here except for Los Roques and Canaima, or other destinations only if chaperoned. I don’t want blood on my hands. The risk is high. Now as for travelers, hardened travelers, people that have already been to Africa and Southeast Asia, they’re ok.

    • Nelson,

      Sorry, I have to ask… How did you respond to them?

      And yes, I agree that only travelers experienced in hard-core travel destinations should come. Personally, I would not allow my family members to come and visit while conditions continue as they are now, even though I would be chaperoning them.

      • Yes, of course I responded. I’m a capitalist. They’re selling the tour right now. If we reach 20 people it’s a go. I’m still looking for the “objective socialist” tour guide, to give them an objective tour, a guy that can talk about the badly-managed good ideas, and the bad side of the ideas that have had good results (for example Sabana Grande renovation costing the yearly budget of Chacao), all with a dab of hypocrite socialism. It’s like giving a tour to hard-line republican Christians; you can’t seek to convert them out of it.

    • Interesting.

      Let me ask you a question: how many of those Scandinavian boli-tourists returned home with the idea that chavismo is swell. Did they even lose a tiny bit of faith?

      I know this is a deep true believer population, but I’m really curious.

      • They haven’t come yet. The tour is this year. These are mostly young idealists, so their idealism totally obscures their vision. There’s not much of a difference between them and the people that stand in line while believing the “guerra economica” story. I’m still looking for an apt tour-guide to show them around.

  7. Not that I’d ever want to go the Cuartel myself, but when you think about it the tombs of Mao, Ho Chi Minh and the Kims are some of the most visited destinations in their respective countries. So in a twisted way…it makes a little bit of sense.

  8. Oscar @ January 30, 2015 at 2:36 am:Not that I’d ever want to go the Cuartel myself, but when you think about it the tombs of Mao, Ho Chi Minh and the Kims are some of the most visited destinations in their respective countries. So in a twisted way…it makes a little bit of sense.

    Some time back I read a piece by a former post-Communist Polish diplomat. who was part of a mission to North Korea. The Poles were taken to see the “Museum of Gifts to the Great Leader”. One reached the place via a four-lane highway that was otherwise unused. The Museum was an enormous structure, all marble and glass IIRC. It consisted of endless galleries in which thousands of items were on display in glass cabinets, from luxury motorcars to gold cufflinks to oil portraits to antique china dishes. In the center was a giant wax effigy of the Leader. They were the only people there.

    Afterward, they were presented with the Visitor’s Book, in which they were expected to write something about the place. Something complimentary, of course. Being diplomats, they managed: “This building is astonishing, There has been noithing like it since the pyramids of Egypt.” The Norks were delighted.

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