Due to inflation and electoral uncertainty, many families decided to advance vacation spending to try to freeze rates. But while some hotels quote the summer season in dollars, others have not yet set the price list for January and February. In those that did, they have rates and in pesos, accommodation for a typical family for two weeks starts at $600,000, which represents an increase of 300% compared to last year.
“Given the ups and downs of the economy, prices constantly vary both in costs and to the public, which has led in many cases to present rates in dollars to official quotes, MEP, or averages, and in some cases there are even no rates,” he explained. PROFILE Diego Noia, businessman in the sector and president of the Argentine Association of Ecotourism and Adventure Tourism (Aaetav).
“It really is a complicated economic scenario for both consumers and operators,” added Noia. She also clarified that “this occurs in the internal market,” because “prices for external markets are normally established a year in advance.”
Foreign tourism was the main driver during the year, since, although residents continue to be more than 70% of the total, they decreased compared to 2022. According to the latest Indec hotel occupancy survey, except in May and June , local tourism fell month by month when compared to the same period of the previous year. In August, which is the latest data available, local tourists were 5.6% less than the previous year.
The increase in May and June coincided with Pre-Trip Four, but it decreased again in July and August compared to those months of 2022. The results of this latest edition of the program, which covered trips between September 29 and October 17 , will probably be reflected in future statistics.
For now, demand for the summer season “is sustained, but not so overwhelming for this time of year,” Camilo Suárez, president of the Chamber of Tourism of the City of Buenos Aires, told this medium. “There is a lot of prudence both on the part of businessmen to set prices and on the part of consumers to contract.” Due to inflation, the lack of reference prices and the uncertainty about what may happen to the country’s economy, “they think differently, they think a little more, they look for more prices. Although it happens to us every four years, this time with greater emphasis because inflation is very high,” he said.
Faced with this, businessmen in the sector applied different strategies: some try to preserve the value to attract local tourists and others “calculate the price according to their parameters, there is no general trend,” said Suárez.
According to a PERFIL survey, for a typical family, in January, the rates for a hotel on the Atlantic Coast start at 600 thousand pesos per fortnight, while last year an accommodation with the same characteristics cost $150 thousand.
The expectations of the businessmen are placed on the next season and on the continuity of PreViaje. “For our part, we value the tool. On the weekends and during the holiday periods in which it operated, it gave a very strong boost to tourism,” Salvador Femenía, spokesperson for the Argentine Confederation of Medium Enterprises (CAME), told this medium. “Regarding next season, we believe that despite the difficulties it is working well, because it also has to do with people’s decision to make an effort, even postponing other expenses.”
Foreign tourism offset lower demand from local travelers. During the year, according to official figures, it had a sustained increase. In February and March, the number of international tourists increased respectively 232.7% and 134.2% compared to the same months in 2022. In August, according to the latest numbers available, international tourism grew 37% compared to the same month of the year. last year.
In 2024, entrepreneurs expect this sector to behave in a similar way. “If the current conditions with the exchange rate are maintained, foreign tourism will surely be a determining factor so that at least the season is successful from an economic point of view,” Femenía concluded.
Regarding domestic tourism, “today we consider Pre-Trip as a necessity for the sector,” Marcos Domínguez, president of the Chamber of Commerce, Tourism, Hospitality and Industry of Merlo, San Luis, commented to this medium. “It is a tool that allows stability, projection and investment,” he summarized.
The truth is that, for this season, with or without Pre-Trip, local tourists will have to have a budget up to four times larger than in 2022 if they want to vacation in Argentina.