With its trademark European flair and Latin American penchant for spectacle, Buenos Aires has once again proven it’s a hotspot in the region for attracting international tourism. Who wouldn’t be enticed by empanadas, tango and a borderline unhealthy love of aperitifs?
The City’s Tourism Office is reporting that an estimated 500,000 people checked in from abroad during November and December of last year and this past January. The increase, of around 13 percent is helping to calm nerves after the previous 18 months had registered a dip in levels of tourism by 4 percent.
Travelers, mostly from the United States, New Zealand, Spain, Brazil and Australia seem to be flocking to the Colón Theater, Puerto Madero and the historical sights in downtown, like Casa Rosada and Plaza de Mayo.
Instagram is blowing up with users posting an identical photo of La Boca’s colorful Caminito — the only difference between each photo being the smiling face of the tourist posing under the balconies. Facebook, on the other hand, will have recorded a fair few “check ins” at the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes and MALBA.
Other popular attractions are the Recoleta cemetery, the Santísimo Sacramento basilica and the 3 de Febrero park.
According to Andy Freire, the president of the Buenos Aires Tourism Office and ministry of Modernization, “the increase is thanks to a joint junction with the national Tourism Ministry, which helped making aggressive tourism campaigns both in North America and Europe.” He added, “exchange rates have also been favorable.” If that’s a suggestion that Argentina is “cheap” for tourists, I’m sure many would have something to say about that.
However, while porteños go away for the summer, visitors from other Argentine provinces take advantage of their opportunity to visit the Capital. Silvia Tenazinha, from online travel agency Almundo.com, told La Nación that the City was (unsurprisingly, perhaps?) the top holiday destination in January, above Bariloche, Iguazú, Córdoba, Salta, Mendoza, El Calafate, Ushuaia and Mar del Plata.
The City’s Modernization Ministry is expecting 2017 to be a good year for tourism, “based on the economic recovery, the salary increase and the downsizing inflation.” They also explained that in 2016, domestic tourism saw a withdrawal due to the macroeconomic restructuring and consequent fall of the purchasing power.