Argentina’s Transport Minister, Guillermo Dietrich, received a lot of backlash from a comment three months ago, conveying that “in Iguazú [tourists] go there due to the rise of the dollar”. With the economical vulnerability in Argentina and the IMF offering a lifeline to the country many citizens were unhappy with the wording of his statement. However, he wasn’t necessarily wrong.
The boost in tourism due to the peso’s devaluation is evident in places like Iguazú. The national park received its one millionth tourist on August 25th, breaking a new historical record as it only took 237 days to reach that target this year.
It’s the first time in Argentine history where the one millionth visitor arrived during the month of August. Last year, this happened on the 225th day of the year, or September 12th.
More conclusively, the data alludes to more records being broken, with the hope that Iguazú will see more visitors than ever in the month of August. As of last year, the record currently stands at 1,435,823 tourists. This may be due to the economy recovering ever so slightly.
This breaks the seven-year curse prior to 2017 when the country’s economy was worse than ever; it contracted betwee the years 2014 and 2016. When this happens, there’s less activity, less employment, and lower levels of income, which mean that the level of visitors going to the Falls decreases.
Leopoldo Lucas, the head of a tourism organization at Iguazú, told La Nación: “We will surpass 1.5 million [visitors] and if everything goes well, we will set a new record.”
Although the economy is heading for a recession, the strong rise in the dollar and lower costs may compensate the economy cool-down in the second half of the year.
High dollar “kills” the recession, at least in Cataratas
The effect of the high dollar has almost double the effect in Iguazú. It is cheaper for foreigners to travel to Argentina, and even more so it’s cheaper to travel to the Argentine side of the Falls – giving Brazil a run for its money.
Patricia Durán Vaca, hotelier and owner of the Missionary Federation of Tourism, explained to La Nación: “On the other hand, the arrival of new airlines also undoubtedly supported this phenomenon.”
Last year saw an increase of flights to Iguazú, such as from Andes airlines. In addition, Aerolíneas and LATAM have lowered their prices and Avian is also expected to lower prices in the near future.
It’s also worth mentioning that this new record was achieved with one of the airports closed for a whole month due to extensive remodelling. Carlos Krause International Airport should be ready by next year. What’s more, Air Europe will start operating a bi-weekly flight from Madrid to Iguazú in the near future.