Gustavo Santos

SECRETARY OF TOURISM

Argentina 2018  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.

“ARGENTINA AT THE FOREFRONT OF GLOBAL TOURISM THROUGH SUSTAINABLE GROWTH AND THE DIVERSIFICATION OF OUR TOURISM PRODUCT.”

THE GOVERNMENT HAS SET AN AMBITIOUS OBJECTIVE OF 70 MILLION NATIONAL VISITORS AND 9 MILLION FOREIGNERS BY 2020. DO YOU REMAIN CONFIDENT THIS IS ACHIEVABLE?

 

We are convinced that through the path we started and continue to build, the goals we set ourselves will be fulfilled. Fortunately, the numbers are already accompanying us. In the first semester of 2018, we have reached a historical record of 10.3 million travelers staying in hotels and 1.26 million foreign tourists visiting our country, an increase of 4.9% compared to the same period in 2017. 

 

Argentina is also strengthening its position as a leading destination for the meetings industry. According to the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA), Argentina has ranked 21st among all countries worldwide. The City of Buenos Aires ranked the 1st place in the Americas for the ninth consecutive year as the preferred venue for international congresses. As a result, Argentina has placed itself above countries such as Mexico, Switzerland, Denmark, Thailand, Greece, Ireland, Czech Republic, among others. Besides, our country represents 17% of the international congresses that take place in Latin America, only behind Brazil. This year we hosted important meetings, such as the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Summit in Mendoza and the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) Global Summit in Buenos Aires and will also be the host country of the G-20 Presidents meeting. 

 

The tourism sector in Argentina is going through a transformation. Our primary objective is to position Argentina at the forefront of global tourism through sustainable growth and the diversification of our tourism product. For that, we are working to promote our country and to provide tourists with the best possibilities to visit us. In this sense, among other measures, we established the refund of 21 percent of VAT for accommodation for foreigners, we applied the exemption of the Argentine visa for Chinese tourists.

 

WITH A RECORD NUMBER OF INTERNATIONAL VISITORS, THERE IS INCREASED INTEREST FROM FOREIGN AIRLINES. WHAT ARE YOUR MAIN OBJECTIVES FOR AIRLINES AND CONNECTIVITY?

 

We have transformed the aviation sector in the country. Today, Argentina is much better connected to the world as we believe that air connectivity is a key factor for the development of the tourism sector. Today, an increasing number of Argentines can travel and, at the same time, generate genuine and sustainable jobs. 

 

We need Argentina to be more and more connected to the world. In addition to adding airlines and routes, we have an important air hub in the Province of Córdoba, strategically located in the center of our country. This allows, among other possibilities, that many flights have no need to go through Buenos Aires. Destinations like Mendoza, Tucumán, Salta and Rosario have exits to the outside. 

 

This year, Norwegian Airlines started flying from London to Buenos Aires and in November Edelweiss will connect Zurich with the Argentine capital. At the end of the year, the Los Angeles-Buenos Aires route will be inaugurated by American Airlines and on June 2019, Air Europa will fly from Madrid to Iguazú in just 9 hours. 

 

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

 

The message is clear: they have an open and hospitable country for all kinds of investment possibilities. Argentina is a destination that has it all. Therefore, those who bet on our tourism potential will have the best results.

The Government has set an ambitious objective of 70 million national visitors and 9 million foreigners by 2020. Do you remain confident this is achievable?

 

We are convinced that, through the path we started and are building, the goals we set ourselves will be fulfilled. Fortunately, the numbers are already accompanying us. In the first semester of 2018 the maximum number of travelers staying in hotels was reached, with 10.3 million.