An Argentinean delegation was at ATM and carried out talks with regional airline companies, and according to Maya Gonzalez, an official from the Secretary of Tourism of Argentina, the country hopes to soon see new flight routes into Argentina which will boost tourism from the Middle East region.
“We have brought with us six tour operators to the show this year and they are working with local operators to develop packages and offers to suit the Arab travellers,” she said.
Argentina’s highlight is the capital city Buenos Aires and the rich natural beauty. “We are called the sixth continent of the world because of the varied landscapes and weather – from jungles to glaciers, beaches and city centres. Because of the distance between Argentina and the Middle East and lack of non-stop flights, it is not yet a well know destination. We have seen tremendous increase in tourism arrivals into the country over the years and now can cater a new product of luxury travellers, which is what the Middle East market is looking for.”
Other tourism highlights include nature and adventure activities, sports such as skiing, golf and polo, as well as special interest Tourism that includes meetings and incentives, wine tasting and health tourism.
In 2007 Argentina had 4.7million visitor arrivals. Their main markets are the neighbouring countries of Brazil, Chile, the US as well as Spain (due to the large immigrant population) and Italy.
“Visitor numbers from the Middle East is still very small. The consulate recorded only 400 visa applications from the Middle East,” she said.
“Our mountains are one of the main attractions, with ski centers surrounded by breathtaking landscapes. These are ideal places to enjoy not only adventure tourism but also wonderful natural resources. Ideally our winters coincide with the summers in the region, during the months of July and August,” she said.
There are currently more than 200 hotels under construction currently. These include four and five star hotels as well as boutique hotels.
The National Institute for Tourism Promotion has designed a 2008-2010 International Tourism Marketing Strategic Plan, a management tool to improve Argentina as a destination for travellers.
“We are constantly visiting new markets and trade shows throughout the world offering Argentine products, and strengthening the relationship between the public and private sectors. We are constantly encouraging the joint participation of public and private sector in tourism promotion overseas,” she said.