Tourists Take Advantage Of Argentina’s Economic Crisis
By Sharelle Burt
Tourists are taking advantage of Argentina’s economic downturn.
With the country’s currency dropping almost 50 percent against the U.S. dollar this year, travelers are basking in some of Argentina’s luxuries like feasting on world-class steaks at Don Julio, a world-class steakhouse. A T-bone steak, usually a pricey menu choice, now only goes for 975 pesos, which equals $27.
The country has also seen a 12 percent jump in foreign tourism. In the past six months, sites like Hopper and Kayak noticed a 56 percent increase in flight searches to Argentina. It makes sense since low-cost airfare is another contributing factor. Government officials got rid of regulations to include routes from Norwegian Airlines, who have flights starting as low as $18 to Argentina. A spokesperson for Airbnb expects to see a 60 percent increase in international guest reservations based on bookings made between August and October.
“It’s a ’luxury for less’ scenario for travelers considering Argentina right now,” said Frommer editorial director Pauline Frommer. “Travelers are seeing Argentina as a much less expensive country to visit and they’re not seeing any of the red flags often associated with economic instability.” Experts say the peso decline provides a better experience for tourists without risk. Popular cities like Buenos Aires remain steady unlike spots like Caracas and Rio de Janeiro who have been hit hard by the economic crisis.
Not everyone has benefited from the economic decline, like travel agency Despegar. Latin America’s largest online agency had clients switch travel plans from high-end vacation spots like Miami to Argentina. The smaller transactions put a major dent in Despegar’s revenue. Despegar shares dropped 48 percent since March.
Many travel sites have noticed the country’s value for tourism. Sites like Lonely Planet named Argentina one of its top “best value” destinations next year. The Wall Street Journal also gave Salta, Argentina a shoutout as the most intriguing place to visit in 2019.