Argentina, the discounted country that attracts tourists…

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Inprotur, the organization promoting Argentinian tourism, was present this year at the IFTM trade fair in Paris. According to their statistics, France represents Argentina’s second European market, behind Spain: around 80,000 French people would therefore have visited the South American destination during the first nine months of 2023.

Here are these officials who arrived from far away in search of more visitors with the campaign Visit Argentina which highlights the geographical diversity and the contrasts between north and south of a very large country. On the program, ecotourism with an itinerary of more than 150 destinations throughout the country on the official La Ruta Natural website.

In addition, Michelin announced this year the arrival of a guide to the country as a gastronomic destination. The inspectors will present their first selection of restaurants for the city of Buenos Aires and the province of Mendoza on November 24.

This is approximately what we can learn from the official communication that the country has provided so far in France. But the real reason for the so-called craze for the destination is to be found rather in the low cost of living, a strong euro and a completely depreciated peso.

Inflation is getting totally out of control and the devalued peso attracts tourists

The Central Bank of Argentina raised last Thursday the inflation figures for September, which touched the ceiling of 12.7% per month and 138% per year. This has worsened rising prices, swallowing up wages and savings and pushing two in five Argentines below the poverty line. A survey of analysts by the same central bank later in the day showed inflation would reach 180% by the end of the year.

Regarding the countries of origin of foreign tourists who visited Argentina this year, those from border countries – Uruguay, Brazil and Chile – come first, followed by visitors from the United States thanks to the numerous air connections, notably between Miami and Buenos Aires. Areas.

Faced with such a picture, a question torments us: can a country on the verge of bankruptcy afford its presence in international tourism fairs? Let’s now take a closer look at the political context that encourages travel by Argentine officials abroad…

Presidential elections which do not bode well…

Since its creation 70 years ago, Peronism has been the dominant party in Argentina and has had very diverse presidents, according to the different exegeses of the doctrine of General Perón – a great friend of Franco – whose meaning and scope are interpretable according to the wishes of the “compañeros” in power. The “workers’ party” nevertheless had constant characteristics through its various representatives: the mystique and blind obedience of its militants (we still find the military and Catholic rhetoric of Perón, resolutely right-wing), corporatist unionism and authoritarianism.

Following the governance crisis in 2001, the “Kirchnerist” current of Peronism (named after Néstor Kirchner and his wife Cristina Fernández) established itself almost regularly at the Maison Rose, the headquarters of the Executive, claiming to exaggerating the concepts of “people” and “homeland” which meant something under Perón’s mandates in the mid-20th century, but no longer in today’s globalized world. Kirchnerism was constituted as a populist and nationalist left which reinterpreted and told in a biased way the history of the military dictatorship and the young democracy, while generating a gigantic, unfundable state model, which deteriorated all macroeconomic and social variables.

A week before the presidential elections, observers predict a slow but certain political end to the widow Kirchner, who faces multiple corruption trials ranging from embezzlement of enormous public funds to nepotism, including nominees and bribed magistrates. The thefts and abuses of power committed by the widow and her acolytes still remain unpunished and fuel social discontent, now channeled by a candidate with an ambiguous speech, to say the least, mixing ultra-liberalism and messianism: Javier Milei. He is often compared to Bolsonaro or Donald Trump, of whom he says he is a great admirer…

The future does not look very promising in a country which now has 18 million people below the poverty line, where insecurity is reaching record levels. Perhaps we should expect a miracle from Francis, the Peronist pope who asks his followers to “pray for him”? Otherwise, we can always resort to the national mythology which elevated Evita and Maradona to the status of saints… of the people!

Catherine Mills Avatar