In a path that began after the end of the pandemic, tourism has been recovering globally and Argentina is no exception, especially when it is particularly "cheap" for foreign visitors due to the depreciation of the currency. However, it is estimated that activity is still 12% below 2019 levels.
One of the parameters to measure the evolution of the sector is its contribution to the total economy of the country, although it may vary depending on the methodology used. The latest official calculations available (from the INDEC Tourism Satellite Account) indicate that in 2019, the direct tourist gross domestic product was 1.9%. Also for the IDB, it was 2.09% in the pre-pandemic, although that figure increases if the "direct, indirect and induced effects" of the activity are included.
In line with these data, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) which includes statistics from the private sector, reported that, in 2022, Tourism contributed about US $ 50,000 million to the local economy, with a year-on-year increase of 39%,
According to Julia Simpson, president and CEO of that body. "Argentina reflects a growth rate similar to that of international tourism, which contributes approximately one in every US$ 10 generated by the activity and one in 10 jobs," he says, alluding to the economic value of the sector.
In a virtual interview with Clarín, the directive shared the latest data processed by the agency together with the consultancy Oxford Economics on the economic impact of tourism activity in different countries and also its vision about how the recovery takes place in the local market.
Among the adversities that tourism must face, according to the directive, are "inflation that affects countries globally"; and also the late opening of China after the pandemic, since the Asian giant generates 15% of global sales.
Another aspect to improve is that of "air connectivity, since demand exceeds supply," according to Simpson. "There aren't enough planes to meet the demand of travelers," he says. However, "in Argentina we see good air connectivity as well as we note the timely elimination of the restrictive measures implemented during the pandemic, he said.
To make its estimates, this agency takes into account the broader impacts on the economy (that is, indirect and induced impacts), in addition to direct impacts.
More foreign tourists
When analyzing the expenditure of travelers arriving in the country, the directive commented that last year it was 40% below pre-pandemic levels. But that, at the end of 2023, an increase of 35% is expected compared to last year, he warned. Most foreign visitors – according to the 2022 report – came from Chile (22%), Paraguay (20%), Brazil (18%), Uruguay (15%), Bolivia (8%) and the rest, from other countries of the world.
According to the Ministry of Tourism, only last month 445 thousand tourists from abroad entered Argentina, 5% above what was registered in the same period of 2019. It is estimated that the economic impact was $ 293 million, a figure also higher than 2019.
"This is the second consecutive month in which inbound tourism exceeds pre-pandemic records. The entry of foreign tourists in April 2023 had already been above the records of the same month of 2019, becoming one of the few countries in the region to achieve it, "said the information from the portfolio directed by Matias Lammens.
In 2022, according to the WTTC, the arrival of international travelers was already growing and generated a spill of US $ 3.7.0 million, that is, a growth of 898.6% compared to 2021. Meanwhile, domestic travelers accounted for more than US$34 billion, 31.2% above 2021 figures.
Although, at a time when foreign currency is lacking, the arrival of dollars from foreign tourists is well appreciated, more than 90% of the expenses originated by travelers, were generated due to domestic movement.
In the last two years, the reactivation of domestic tourism was due, among other reasons, to the implementation of the PreViaje plan, which reimburses the traveler (in credit for future consumption within the category) 50% of tourism expenditure within the country.