Travel and tourism in Argentina – statistics & facts
Bordering five different countries, the Atlantic Ocean, and the Drake Passage, the continental area of Argentina stretches roughly 2.8 million square kilometers in the southern part of South America. Argentina is the second-largest country in Latin America, and it also ranks among the most populated ones. With two major airports (Ezeiza and Aeroparque), the country’s capital is the main entry point for international air travelers. By the end of the 2010s, Argentina received approximately seven million international visitor arrivals annually. However, the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic caused strong disruptions to the country’s tourism sector.
Travel in Argentina during COVID-19
Argentina had one of the longest COVID-19 quarantines worldwide. It started with total mobility restrictions in March 2020, which were prolonged, changed, or partially lifted several times throughout 2020 and 2021. According to the IATA, the country also had the longest airspace closure in the world: domestic commercial operations were resumed on October 22nd, 2020, while international air travelers have been allowed back in the country since November 1st, 2021. By September 2022, the Argentine government had lifted all COVID-19 entry restrictions for foreign visitors, including tests and proof of vaccination.
As a result, Argentina's inbound and outbound tourism was reduced to a bare minimum, falling over 90 percent in 2021. The domestic tourism volume in the South American nation was also significantly affected, though not to the same extent. The strongest impact on this segment was exhibited in 2020, showing the first signs of recovery in the following year. This development served to push the Argentine hospitality sector’s gross domestic product back up as well.
In 2021, Argentina achieved four of seven possible points in the Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index, equaling the score of Panama and Colombia. In comparison, Mexico and Chile received the best score in the region with 4.3 points. That year, the best-rated TTDI sub-index for Argentina was the conditions that enabled travel and tourism. These include but are not limited to security, business environment, communication technologies as well as health and hygiene. However, according to the same index, the Southern country had also some catch up to do regarding tourism infrastructure.
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Ana M. López
Research expert covering travel, tourism and hospitality