Argentine president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner led the swearing-in ceremony of Enrique Meyer as Minister of the newly created Ministry of Tourism. Meyer was Secretary of Tourism but this week the post was upgraded to Ministry.
According to decree 919, the underlying reason for the ministerial creation was due to the former Secretary's activities in representing an alternative development sector for the economy, which boosts employment and modifies regional economies.
“Tourism statistics have been incredible and the amount of tourists and dollars that have entered the country since 2003 have more than doubled”, said Mrs. Kirchner on announcing the reasons for decrees 919 and 921.
In 2003, we were 40th in the world ranking, with just 17 conferences held in this country. In 2008, we launched a marketing plan and held 115 events, moving within the ranks to number 22. In 2009, we held 145 events and climbed to spot 19 on an international level.
Decree 921 is the one which appointed former Secretary Meyer as the new Minister.
Mrs. Kirchner said tourism related activities in Argentina represent 6% of GDP and recalled that while global tourism activity declined 8% in 2009, “the number of Argentines travelling overseas kept increasing steadily”.
Last year 4.975.129 Argentines travelled overseas and spent 4.4 billion US dollars, which is a billion US dollars higher than what incoming tourism left in the country, according to official Argentine statistics.
Mrs. Kirchner said that since 2003 investment in hotels, lodges and motels jumped 1000% with the cities of Cordoba, Mendoza, Rosario and Mar del Plata fully incorporated to the international tourism circuit.
Tourism in Argentina has been growing steadily since 2003, mostly boosted by a favourable exchange rate between the Argentine peso and the US dollar.
In 2009, Argentina received almost two million foreign tourists (14% less than in 2008) who spend an estimated 2.7 billion US dollars.
Last January the most intense month of the summer season for Argentina’s tourism industry, an estimated 9.5 million locals and foreigners travelled to tourist destinations in the country, the largest number for that month in the last ten years.