CARACAS, Nov. 24 (Xinhua) -- Oil-producing Venezuela said on Friday that tourism has turned into the country's first engine of economic development.
"Tourism has become the first engine of economic development in our country," Venezuelan Vice President Tareck El Aissami said when inaugurating its 12th International Tourism Fair (Fitven) on the island of Margarita.
"Our country was dependent on oil for many years, but now has come the time of tourism for economic development," El Aissami said at the three-day event.
He noted that Venezuela was "making a great effort to show Venezuelans and the world the great tourism potential we have."
Over 200 national and international service providers and 43 travel agencies from 22 countries, including India, China, Russia, Indonesia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Egypt, Costa Rica, Uruguay, Dominica, and Cuba, attended the expo.
Venezuela sees tourism as a way to turn around its economy, which has been mired in a deep recession, after the precipitous fall in 2014 of oil prices, a sector which accounts for 96 percent of public revenue.