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Maximo Tomco Bolivias tourism needs sources

Mr. Maximo Tomco, Bolivia`s Vice Minister of Tourism comments in TravelDailyNews International how Bolivia can enter more dynamic in the tourism industry.

TravelDailyNews:What are the major problems that Bolivia`s tourism sector faces today?

Maximo Tomco: Bolivia had been political unstable for many years and that caused many problems not just in the tourism industry but in many sectors too. Now the political system is more stable and from time to time we are trying as much as we can to promote Bolivia`s tourism product which is based in the natural beauties of the country and in the promotion of ecotourism sector. The problem is that we don`t have many adequate resources to build the right infrastructure basis. We are doing this step by step but we are more optimistic for the future.

TDN:What is your tourist flow in your country?

M.T.: We had nearly one million visitors to our country last year. We are working to create the opportunities for visitors to come in Bolivia. We need other countries to learn about us not only in the Latin America region but in other parts of the world. We estimate to have a 4.5% increase this year and that is very good for us. The previous years it was difficult to come to Bolivia because there were no direct flights from many countries. Visitors were forced to reach Bolivia from other destinations and that situation caused many troubles and didn`t help tourism to grow in our country. Nowadays, Bolivian Airlines have direct flights from Spain and especially Madrid and from Santa Cruz. We are trying to create a more targeted policy in order to attract tourists in Bolivia.

TDN:In what exhibitions are you going to take part in this year?

M.T.: We are going to participate in WTM in London and in Fitur in Spain. We participated in ITB and we believe that we had a good presence as we‘ve reached our target to make Bolivia more known in the world. We believe that we will see an increase in the number of tourists who will come to Bolivia this year and this reflects to a more continued presence of Bolivia in international exhibitions. The problem is that we don`t have many resources to promote our country.

TDN:What are your relations to other countries of Latin America and how do you cooperate to promote tourism in the region?

M.T.: We are cooperating with many countries in Latin America and especially with Argentina and Peru. We want to promote the regional products to the other parts of the world and we are cooperating in that basis with Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil because it is better to work with many countries as one team rather than competing with each other. And the countries of South America need to build strong partnerships. That initiative will help to promote the tourism product of all countries of the region. We are members of Mercosur a joint cooperation treaty of South American countries to promote their products in the European Union countries and this helps us to make Latin American countries more known to the average European citizen.

TDN:What is your programme to promote Bolivia`s tourism?

M.T.: We have fifteen programmes underway in cooperation with the Bank of America to promote Bolivia`s tourism and especially sustainable tourism. In that programmes the private sector will have a key role to the progress of the region. The Bolivian government is working in daily basis to inform local communities about the role they have to play in order to boost Bolivia`s economy and tourism. President Morales said that target is people who live in cities and that local villages will benefit from tourism growth. Another initiative is that there was not a separate Ministry of Tourism in Bolivia because it was a subsidiary of Ministry of Economy for long time. That didn`t help Bolivia`s tourism sector because there were not clear decisions or decisions at all regarding tourism. Now the Vice Ministry of Tourism is one of the four sectors of the Ministry of Promotion and Small Business and that is progress.

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