Gustavo Santos

MINISTER OF TOURISM

Argentina 2017  I  Tourism I  Leader

BIOGRAPHY He graduated at the National University of Cordoba in the Faculty of Philosophy and Humanities. He has also an MBA from UCC and a master’s degree in State Policy from the Georgetown University, Washington DC. He was previously the President of the Cordoba Tourism Agency and Vice-President of the Federal Council of Tourism.

“OUR GOAL IS TO CLAIM A GLOBAL POSITION AND BE A REFERENCE OF EXCELLENCE IN LATIN AMERICA.”

THE TOURISM SECTOR HAS BEEN IDENTIFIED AS A PRIORITY SECTOR FOR PRESIDENT MACRI’S GOVERNMENT. WHAT ARE YOUR MAIN OBJECTIVES?

 

In 2016, the tourism sector has continued to play an important role in the economy, making the sector’s impact larger than that of the automotive manufacturing, banking, chemicals manufacturing, and mining sector, and lagging behind on financial services, construction, agriculture and retail. It has supported over 1.1 million jobs in 2016 and has an important role in the growth and development of regional economies, as 95% of tourist expenditure takes place outside the capital city and Greater Buenos Aires. The tourism sector is one of Argentina’s key economic sectors contributing to the reduction of poverty, employment generation and protecting and enhancing our country’s cultural and natural heritage.

 

The 2016-19 Tourism National Plan was presented together with President Mauricio Macri, Governors and representatives of the private sector in April 2016, describing our country’s objectives and strategies for the coming years. Our objective is to create 300.000 additional jobs by 2020 in five strategic guidelines. We aim to increase by 50% the number of tourists reaching 9 million and raising their spending to USD 8 billion in 2019. For the domestic market, we plan to increase to reach 70 million Argentine tourists to spend over USD 10 billion in the country’s regional economies. Our goal is to claim a global position and be a reference of excellence in Latin America.

 

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS FOR THE TOURISM SECTOR WITH THE REOPENING OF ARGENTINA TO INTERNATIONAL MARKETS?

 

One of the clearest impacts of the reopening of Argentina to the international markets has been in the change of the tourist profile, with the high-spending tourists arriving again to Argentina. Considering the period January to August of 2017, in relation to the same period of 2016, business tourists, congresses and conventions purposes grew by 14.7% and spending by 18% while those who arrived for vacations and leisure grew 9,6% and spent over 15%. The amount of tourists that have stayed at 4- and 5-stars hotels grew by 24% and stays at hotels from 1 to 3 stars have grown 13.5%. Today, Argentina is among the top 20 of the world’s meeting tourism destinations according to the International Congress & Convention Association (ICCA), climbing four positions since 2015. The city of Buenos Aires ranked first place in America for the eighth consecutive year surpassing cities like New York, Mexico, San Paulo, Lima, Rome, Hong Kong and Tokyo, and it was one of the three cities of the world with greater growth with the organization of 21 events more than in 2015.

 

Besides Buenos Aires, there are 33 Argentine cities that make up the ICCA ranking. This activity has generated over USD 1.1 billion in 2016, involved more than 275 cities in the country, mobilized 10 million people who participated in 4,891 tourism events throughout the country, generally in the off-season, boosting activity in regional economies and acting as a promotion tool and guaranteeing future visitors. This segment has a strong impact in the hotel industry due to its high spending power, which is 3 to 4 times compared to a tourist.

 

In April 2017, Argentina hosted the World Economic Forum Latin America for the first time. In November, it will host ILO’s IV Global Conference on the Sustained Eradication of Child Labour, and in December it will host the WTO Ministerial Conference, being the first South American country to host the Trade Ministers meeting. During 2018, the country will host the G20 meeting in different destinations of the country, Buenos Aires will host the Youth Olympic Games from October 6th to 18th and in November, the G20 Summit of Presidents.

 

ARGENTINA IS LOOKING TO POSITION ITSELF AS ONE OF THE WORLD’S LEADING GASTRONOMIC DESTINATIONS. CAN YOU TELL US MORE YOUR STRATEGY?

 

Last year, we launched the Plan “Cocin.AR”, which aims to rank Argentine gastronomy and position it among the world’s leading cuisines. The first step will be creating a forum for the planning and development of gastronomic tourism in each province. Then, regional reports, covering strategies, programs and projects to be developed will be drawn. The third phase will end with the formulation of the National Development Plan 2017-2027 for Gastronomic Tourism, which will target the development of the Gastronomic Tourism Map of Argentina. The “Cocin.Ar” plan has been awarded in the Fitur 2017. Alongside this initiative, we hope to establish a distinctive brand, recognized globally. Foreign tourists should recognize our country for the quality and variety of our dishes. Argentina is not just roasted and Malbec wine. Our six regions have many products to offer even the most discerning palates.

 

WHAT WOULD BE YOUR MESSAGE TO FOREIGN INVESTORS INTERESTED IN INVESTING IN ARGENTINA’S TOURISM SECTOR?

 

We have a great opportunity to present to the national and foreign investors the new areas of development and investment in the country. Our government is proactive in investing, an ally to activate your investments, facilitating procedures, lead times, offering comprehensive advice and federal support working as a team with our Investment Agency and all areas of government. Argentina has definitely reopened to the world. We want to be the friendliest country in the world in terms of tourism and business, hence our statement “Argentina World Friendly” which in business terms translates into “Argentina Business Friendly”. This is the time to invest in Argentina. We are at the disposal of anyone who wants to grow with us.