Things have gotten so bad in Venezuela that many hotels are now asking guests to bring their own toilet paper. Is it any wonder that international flights have dried up in and out of Venezuela?
Venezuela’s product shortages have become so severe that some hotels in that country are asking guests to bring their own toilet paper and soap, a local tourism industry spokesman said on Wednesday.
..“It’s an extreme situation,” says Xinia Camacho, owner of a 20-room boutique hotel in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada national park. “For over a year we haven’t had toilet paper, soap, any kind of milk, coffee or sugar. So we have to tell our guests to come prepared.”
Why? Price controls:
- If you’ve got anything valuable and can get it out of the country, you can sell at market prices above government-set prices. Or you can sell it domestically on the black market. So you don’t sell toilet paper to hotels through official channels.
- If you’re a hotel owner and you want supplies you need to buy them on the black market, producers don’t sell enough to go around at the official price (if they produce at all).
Hotels face a choice to either buy toilet paper on the black market or ask guests to bring their own. However,
Venezuelan officials have been stopping people from transporting essential goods across the country in an effort to stem the flow of contraband. So now Camacho’s guests could potentially have their toilet paper confiscated before they even make it to the hotel.
Even where supplies are available through official means, things cost more than the government-mandated price… the extra cost, however, is non-monetary:
“We don’t want to participate in the corruption of the black market, and I don’t have four hours a day to line up for toilet paper” at a supermarket.
So what’s the government solution?
The government has not responded to the complaints, nor shown a willingness to spare a square.
Instead the government is reporting high growth rates in internal tourism — which, in good part is due to the devaluation of Venezuela’s currency, which has made it increasingly difficult for vacationers to travel abroad.
My one skepticism about the piece is that anyone spoke about the on the record, because citizens certainly know that’s a recipe for government reprisal.
(HT: Alan H.)