For the first time in 15 years, a European cruise vessel has arrived in Venezuela, docking at Margarita Island.
The ship, named Amadea, is operated by German travel agency Phoenix Reisen, reported Bloomberg.
Phoenix Reisen director of cruising Michael Schulze told the publication that Margarita was selected for its reputation of being a highly-frequented holiday site for Germans.
“Maybe with our assistance, being the first cruise vessel after a long time, we can help bring back the attention to tourism,” he added.
Venezuela has remained off the radar of international tourism amid economic turbulence and poor infrastructure, with US sanctions adding to the difficulties.
Civic unrest followed suit, with the country facing a shortage of basic resources that included water and electricity.
How well do you really know your competitors?
Access the most comprehensive Company Profiles on the market, powered by GlobalData. Save hours of research. Gain competitive edge.
Your download email will arrive shortly
Not ready to buy yet? Download a free sample
We are confident about the unique quality of our Company Profiles. However, we want you to make the most beneficial decision for your business, so we offer a free sample that you can download by submitting the below formBy GlobalData
As a result, travel agencies have shied away from the country, which became known as a high-risk destination.
The Bahamas-flagged vessel had nearly 500 passengers on board, reported AFP.
“For many years Venezuela was off the radar of cruise ships,” Tourism Minister Ali Padron was quoted as saying by the news agency.
Conseturismo tourism council president Leudo Gonzalez told the agency that the development ‘opens the possibility of (Venezuela) returning to the radar of the main cruise lines’.
According to Bloomberg, international arrivals in Venezuela slumped to 429,000 in 2017, which marks the last year that the World Bank received tourism data from the country.
In 2013, the figure stood at more than one million.
Padron told the publication that the government is working on receiving more ships soon, though he did not provide further details on the matter.