According to data from the National Ministry of Tourism, more than 5.3 million foreign tourists visited Argentina this year. The government projects that by the end of 2023, this number will grow to over 7 million, surpassing the record-breaking tourist income in 2019, which amounted to 3.7 billion dollars. It is worth noting that this income represents the country's second-most significant service export.
Argentina is the country that attracts the highest number of foreign tourists to South America. It is also the sector that has experienced the most significant growth in the national economy, with a 6.4% inter-annual increase. According to INDEC figures, hotels and restaurants were the leading sector in the second quarter of 2023. The sector provides direct employment for over 600,000 people and similar indirect jobs. In Argentina, tourism contributes between 6 and 8% of the GDP. In Spain, the world leader in the tourism industry, this sector represents 14% of the GDP.
According to the National Ministry of Labor, the hotel and gastronomy industry led registered employment growth with an increase of 55 thousand new jobs in 2023, thanks to inbound tourism growth. Between January and September 2023, tourists arrived from Uruguay (20.8%), Brazil (19.4%), Chile (19%), the United States (7.6%), Paraguay (7.5%), Bolivia (3.4%), Spain (2.5%), Peru (2.4%), Colombia (1.8%) and France (1.6%).
INDEC reported that in June 2023, more than 443 thousand trips were made by non-resident tourists to Argentina, which was the highest figure since 2000. In the last quarter, tourists were surplus, with more foreigners entering Argentina than Argentines traveling abroad.
The Argentine Chamber of Medium-sized Companies (CAME) presented a report that provides an overview of the number of tourism trips made in the country, taking into account summer and winter vacations as well as the seven long weekends (from Carnival to the homage to José de San Martín). The total number of tourists was 48.2 million, who spent two trillion pesos. According to CAME's Secretary of Tourism, Gregorio Werchow, this figure generated 7.4 billion dollars throughout the country up to August at the official exchange rate in constant currency.
The Post-pandemic Push
"Customers don't just buy products and services; they buy experiences. They want to have a good time and feel well taken care of. They want to create good memories," explained Werchow, a leader in the tourism industry. He added that there had been a significant increase in nature destinations and luxury camping, or 'glamping' after the pandemic. It has been realized that national parks are important and need to be visited; hence, investments have been made in the interior of the parks. In the province of Chaco, there has been a noticeable growth in nature tourism and a rise in glamping investment."
Argentinian Promotion and Unique Selling Points
The National Institute for Tourism Promotion (INPROTUR) is funded by the National Tourism Fund, which receives 5% of the price of air, river, and sea tickets purchased by Argentine residents for trips that start on the national territory.
Argentina is a country that has a lot to offer to international tourism. Some of the major attractions include Lionel Messi, the captain of the world champion soccer team, as well as Pope Francis, Maradona, Patagonia, the Malbec grape variety, Tango, Soccer, the Waterfalls, Bariloche, Ushuaia, and nature that stretches across the country. Additionally, there are emerging phenomena, such as exclusive hunting preserves and equestrian sports.
Experts emphasize that promoting destinations far from major source markets, such as Argentina, is crucial for their success. These destinations must have a strong positioning strategy and convenient air connectivity to achieve this. As a result, Aerolíneas Argentinas has become a strategic partner in promoting the country.