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Tourism in El Salvador

Tourism in El Salvador

El Salvador recorded a total of 707,000 tourists in 2020, ranking 113rd in the world in absolute terms.

That smaller countries regularly perform lower in a comparison of the absolute number of guests, is obvious. By putting the tourist numbers in relation to the population of El Salvador, the result is much more comparable picture: With 0.11 tourists per resident, El Salvador ranked 118th in the world. In Central America, it ranked 5th.

El Salvador generated around 755.00 million US Dollar in the tourism sector alone. This corresponds to 3.1 percent of its the gross domestic product and approximately 5 percent of all international tourism receipts in Central America.

A global comparison can be found here › International tourism


Back to overview: El Salvador

On average, each of the tourists arriving in 2020 spent about 903 US Dollars. Conversely, the inhabitants of El Salvador spend only around 266 dollars a year when they themselves spend vacations abroad.

Tourism in El Salvador

Development of the tourism sector in El Salvador from 1995 to 2020

The following chart shows the number of tourist arrivals registered in El Salvador each year. Anyone who spends at least one night in the country but does not live there for more than 12 months is considered a tourist. Insofar as the survey included the purpose of the trip, business trips and other non-tourism travel purposes have already been excluded. The number of people passing through within the same day, and e.g. crew members of ships or flights are also not considered as tourists in most countries. If the same person travels in and out more than once within the same year, each visit counts again.

Data in the chart are given in millions of tourists. The red line represents the average of all 8 countries in Central America.

Tourists per year in El Salvador

Revenues in tourism

In 1995, tourism revenues amounted to 152.00 million USD, or about 1.7 percent of the gross national product. This corresponded to about 235,000 tourists at that time and roughly 647 USD per person. Within 25 years, the country's dependence on tourism has increased noticeably. In the last year of the survey, the revenue now amounts to 755.00 million USD, accounting for 3.1 percent of the gross national product. Each visitor now spends an average of 1,068 USD for his holiday in El Salvador.

Tourism receipts in El Salvador per year

All data for El Salvador in detail

YearNumber of touristsReceipts% of GNPReceipts per tourist
2020707,000755.00 m $3.1 %1,068 $
20192.64 m1.66 bn $6.2 %631 $
20182.54 m1.37 bn $5.3 %540 $
20172.25 m1.23 bn $4.9 %546 $
20162.05 m1.16 bn $4.8 %566 $
20151.97 m1.20 bn $5.1 %610 $
20141.89 m1.29 bn $5.7 %681 $
20131.82 m1.05 bn $4.8 %578 $
20121.74 m900.00 m $4.2 %518 $
20111.63 m729.00 m $3.6 %446 $
20101.61 m646.00 m $3.5 %402 $
20091.48 m549.00 m $3.1 %370 $
20081.88 m711.00 m $4.0 %379 $
20071.72 m793.00 m $4.7 %461 $
20061.50 m686.00 m $4.3 %457 $
20051.31 m656.00 m $4.5 %502 $
20041.03 m748.00 m $5.5 %726 $
2003798,000664.00 m $5.0 %832 $
2002885,000521.00 m $4.1 %589 $
2001804,000452.00 m $3.7 %562 $
2000867,000437.00 m $3.7 %504 $
1999658,000408.00 m $3.6 %620 $
1998542,000206.00 m $1.9 %380 $
1997387,000149.00 m $1.5 %385 $
1996283,000155.00 m $1.6 %548 $
1995235,000152.00 m $1.7 %647 $


Our data on tourist numbers, revenues and expenditures are based on information from the World Tourism Organization. However, to ensure international comparability, the data for some years or countries were manually researched and corrected if they obviously included visitors without overnight stays. In these cases, the data were taken from the official communications of the respective national tourism authorities.

The WTO additionally points out that in some countries the number of tourists is only counted at airports, in others also at border crossings or even hotels. A comprehensive and reliable indication is therefore hardly possible in any country.

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