El Salvador Among the Top 5 Best Performing Tourist Destinations Worldwide in 2023

By Eddie Galdamez  | Updated on Feb 7th, 2024
El Salvador TourismInternational Airport in El Salvador. Image by CEPASV.

The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) released its list of the best-performing destinations for 2023; El Salvador ranked fifth behind Turks and Caicos, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Albania.

International tourism recovered 88% of pre-pandemic levels in 2023, supported by strong pent-up demand. Following a strong rebound in 2023, international tourism is expected to fully recover pre-pandemic levels in 2024. World Tourism Organization.

According to the World Tourism Organization, El Salvador grew by 40% compared to 2019, before the shock of the COVID-19 pandemic that hampered tourist activity worldwide.

Turks and Caicos emerged as the top-performing destination last year, experiencing a remarkable 127% growth in tourism compared to 2019. Qatar secured the second position with a 90% increase, followed by Saudi Arabia with a 56% rise, and Albania claimed the fourth spot with a 53% growth.

Among the countries in the Americas that made the list, El Salvador secured the second position, trailing behind Turks and Caicos. Colombia claimed the third spot in the region, succeeded by Curacao, the Dominican Republic, the US Virgin Islands, Guatemala, and Honduras.

Best Performing Tourist Destinations Worldwide in 2023
Best Performing Tourist Destinations Worldwide in 2023. Image by UN Tourism.

El Salvador is confirmed to be the tourist destination with the most growth in the entire Western Hemisphere. President Nayib Bukele.

SEE ALSO: Lonely Planet includes El Salvador as one of the best 2023 travel destinations

According to Salvadoran authorities, 3.4 million international tourists visited the country in 2023, leaving over $3,700 million in revenue for the country.

El Salvador is looking to further increase tourism in 2024. Eny Aguiñada, president of the Salvadoran Institute of Tourism (ISTU), recently stated that for 2024, the Government plans to exceed the 3.4 million foreign visitors who arrived in the country in 2023.

Aguiñada stated that with the $3,793 million received in tourism income in 2023, the country overpassed 2022 by 43%. “This motivates us to be able to project ourselves more in 2024,” remarked ISTU president Aguiñada.

As a tourism portfolio, for 2024, our goal is to receive 3.8 million international visitors, grow 12% compared to 2023, and be able to receive $3.8 billion in foreign currency income. Eny Aguiñada.

SEE ALSO: Is El Salvador Safe to Visit in 2023? A Comprehensive Safety Guide for Travelers

Improved Security Has Helped El Salvador Tourism

After years of violence, El Salvador has reached a level of security not seen in over 30 years; this has helped the tourism industry.

“The Salvadoran coasts welcome surfers and tourists from all over. With the improvement of security and the return of visitors, locals turn a deaf ear to the complaints of international organizations about prison overcrowding.” France24.

In 2024, El Salvador stands as a captivating tourist destination, blending historical charm with natural beauty. Its evolving infrastructure and commitment to tourism make it an enticing choice for travelers seeking unique experiences in Central America.