How do you use tourism to drive economic growth? Argentina’s story.

Make it easy for people to come

Argentine airspace was tightly controlled with the national carrier Aerolíneas Argentinas enjoying high levels of protection (and losing $2 million a day). An aggressive policy of opening the skies to competing airlines has had a dramatic impact. Buenos Aires became the first city in South America to welcome low cost airline Norwegian in 2018 with direct flights from London. American Airlines recently added new services to Buenos Aires and Cordoba. A further three new companies received permission to fly in recent months.

Encourage domestic tourism

In most countries, domestic tourism is worth double, often triple, the value of inbound tourism. So encouraging nationals to explore their own country is a great way to kick start tourism sector growth. Argentina’s domestic airspace has also been opened to competition and there’s been a boom in domestic tourism. 13 million passengers took domestic air trips last year, an increase of three million in 2015. New or soon-to-arrive entrants like Lassa, Avianca, Flybondi as well as Norwegian are all increasing frequencies and destinations served. With the highest GDP per capita in South America, Argentines fly far less than their neighbours, taking half as many flights per year as Brazilians and a third as many as Chileans. So there’s still plenty of room for growth.

Invest in the right infrastructure

With more flights and more tourists arriving, it’s essential that the infrastructure is there to support them. There’s nothing worse than arriving in a country and having to queue for hours to clear immigration. Aeropuertos Argentinas 2000 has invested over $250 million in the past two years in airport development. That’s just part of a total of $1.5 billion of investment in airport infrastructure that’s being made. Encouraging international investment has been a priority too. A range of hotel projects is already being developed by the likes of Iberostar and NH that’s worth around $170m. In total, WTTC members are set to invest $1.9 billion into Argentina over coming years.

Cut red tape

Gone are the days when tourists from places like the USA, Canada and Australia had to pay fees of up to $160 to enter Argentina. Holders of passports from nearly 90 jurisdictions can now visit without a visa, and the government also plans to waive visa requirements for Chinese visitors who already have visas for the US or EU. A similar plan is being proposed for Chinese tourists who already have visas for Brazil and Chile. VAT reimbursement for tourists on goods purchased in Argentina has been available since 2001, but recently this has been extended to the cost of accommodation too.

Focus on what your audience want

Argentina has much to offer tourists: remarkable natural wonders like Iguaçu, vibrant cities like Buenos Aires, world class wine and food, the vast spaces of the pampas and the snowy peaks of Patagonia. With an eye on the growing demand for authenticity and experiencing the wonders of the natural world, making Argentina known for eco-tourism is a key priority. The intention is to double the amount of space given over to National Parks. An ambitious plan to develop the four northeast provinces of Misiones, Chaco, Formosa, and Corrientes into an eco-tourism corridor is being implemented.

Drive development where it’s most needed

Starting out with a plan that includes spreading the increased numbers of tourists around the country makes a great deal of sense from a tourist management perspective. There are plans in place to route international flights to places other than Buenos Aires. And those provinces in the northeast that will form the eco-tourism corridor? They are also some of the country’s least developed. Opening up these areas to tourism will bring jobs and opportunities where they are needed most.

Put out the Open for Business sign

Building momentum around major events, when the world’s attention is focussed on your country is another great way to boost tourism numbers. This year, Buenos Aires has hosted not just the annual WTTC Global Summit where the country’s ambitions for tourism were set out before Travel & Tourism’s most important opinion leaders, but also the G20. The Youth Olympic Games will take place in Buenos Aires in October too. Ultimately, it’s all about putting your destination on the map.



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
World Travel & Tourism Council

World Travel & Tourism Council

Our mission is to maximise the inclusive and sustainable growth potential of the Travel & Tourism sector. Join the conversation #WTTC