Kickstarting El Salvador Tourism for a Post-Pandemic World

Looking for ways to restart El Salvador tourism, the government launches destination brand “El Salvador”.

In early October, the government of El Salvador launched a new destination brand called “El Salvador”. They plan to implement Brand El Salvador alongside the existing Surf City brand to promote tourism and entice visitors back to the country.

As part of packaging Brand El Salvador, the Ministry of Tourism reached an agreement with the Fernando Llort Foundation.

Fernando Llort could well be El Salvador’s most famous artist.

He spent part of his life the town of La Palma in the north of the country. It was here he helped start the Semilla de Dios cooperative which turned La Palma into a town of artisans. He died in 2018.

Llort had a simple style, depicting rural life in mostly primary colors. He created the tiled mural on the facade of San Salvador Cathedral which, unfortunately, was removed in 2012.

Art lovers around the world recognize his work as quintessentially Salvadoran.

The government will use Llort’s work on letters of Brand El Salvador. Each letter will feature different works of art he created.

Llort’s art will feature in other efforts to promote El Salvador later on.

The pandemic hit tourism hard in El Salvador.

El Salvador was the first country in Central America to close its borders and airport. It did this before it received a single case of COVID.

And like everywhere else in Central America, the tourist economy collapsed.

Economists expect El Salvador to lose around $440 million in foreign revenue this year due to the collapse in tourism. Almost 120,000 tourism-related jobs are now gone. El Salvador reopened its airport and borders to foreign tourists on September 19, which is a start. But there’s a long way to go. 

The destination brand will promote the country’s tourist destinations and also highlight the culture and crafts of El Salvador.

According to Tourism Minister Morena Valdez, the government will use destination brand El Salvador as an “umbrella brand”.

That means it’ll cover more specific “anchor brands” like Surf City. Brand El Salvador will highlight El Salvador as a whole, while Surf City will focus on specifics. That’s the plan, anyway.

Salvadorans saw their country’s tourism industry grow rapidly in recent pre-COVID years. The hope is that by branding El Salvador as a viable tourist destination to sell to the world, tourism can re-emerge on the other side of the pandemic.

Eddie Galdamez is a Salvadoran blogger and web designer who loves writing about his country. His favorite topics include tourism, politics, culture, and overall life in El Salvador. He runs El Salvador Info, a blog about all things El Salvador.