El Salvador is a North American country that's known as the land of volcanoes. Over 100 volcanoes exist in the country, which also cause frequent earthquakes. It is also known for its beaches like El Tunco, Punta Roca, El Sunzal, El Zonte, La Costa del Sol, El Majahual, and La Libertad beach; and its nightlife. The country was recently in the news for announcing an entry fee of US Dollars (USD) 1,000 (Rs 83,219) for travellers from India and 50 African nations. Along with value-added tax (VAT), a visitor from these countries would have to pay USD 1,130 (Rs 94,038) to enter El Salvador.
Why the charge?
El Salvador’s authorities said in an official release that the fee, which came into effect on October 23, was intended to curb uncontrolled immigration to the United States through their country. Apart from collecting the fee, government authorities in El Salvador have also ordered the airlines conducting services to the country to inform them every day about travellers carrying passports of India and the specified African nations. The authorities also said in the official release that the fee received from travellers would be utilized to improve the facilities at El Salvador International Airport.
However, diplomatic experts said that El Salvador’s decision reflects the efforts taken by governments and airlines worldwide to tackle immigration issues by introducing restrictions on international travel. It is pointed out that around 3.2 million immigrants arrived in El Salvador during the financial year 2023 alone.
Among the 100-plus volcanoes in El Salvador, the highest is Santa Ana, which is 2,381 m above sea level. Incidentally, volcanoes are also depicted on the national flag of El Salvador. Even though El Salvador is the only nation in Central America which does not have a shoreline with the Caribbean Sea, the country's amazing beaches face the Pacific Ocean and they are a favourite among surfers as huge waves lash the area. Other attractions in the country include the five archaeological parks Cihuatan, Joya de Ceren, San Andres, Casa Blanca and Tazumal. Tazumal, which depicts the lives of the ancient Mayan civilization, is a renowned tourist destination. The country is also noted for its coffee varieties such as Pacas and Pacamara. Earlier, El Salvador was the fourth biggest coffee producer in the world, despite its small land area.