Next Saturday the Holland America cruise Zaandam is expected in Buenos Aires signaling the start of the 2017/18 season, which according to Argentine officials is going to be the best following on four years of sustained retraction. So far the number of docking requests include 110 calls with an estimated number of 320.000 visitors, although there are possibilities the final figure, by 24 April 2018, could reach 328.000.
Ushuaia, capital of Argentine Tierra del Fuego is expecting some 300 calls this 2017/18 cruise season, involving 42 vessels, 31 of which will be travelling on to Antarctica, according to InFueTur, the Tierra del Fuego tourism office.
Ushuaia in the extreme south of Argentina and capital of Tierra del Fuego province celebrated on 12 October the 132th anniversary of its foundation with several activities including a jumbo popular paella for 12.000 people. The gastronomic display was sponsored by city authorities and New San, a maquila group which assembles electronic products in Tierra del Fuego under a promotion system implemented by Buenos Aires.
Ushuaia remains as Antarctic gate king this 2016/2017 cruise season with 245 out of its 305 calls (45 vessels) heading for the extreme south ice covered continent, according to the data published by the Tierra del Fuego Tourism Institute Infuetur. The season took off in early September with the arrival of Chilean flagged Stella Australis, and its 210 passengers heading for Cape Horn
The 2016//17 cruise season for the Magallanes region in the extreme south of Chile will see a drop in the number of calls, from 121 to 86, of which 83 in Punta Arenas and 3 in Puerto Natales, according to the schedule published by Punta Arenas port authority, Austral Port Company, EPA, website.
Ushuaia, the world's most extreme south city and the gateway for Antarctica cruise tours is planning to upgrade its port facilities including the expansion of the main pier by 251 meters increasing the docking capacity for tourism vessels during the summer season.
An estimated 58,000 cruise visitors have landed in Ushuaia, extreme south of Argentina during the current 2015/16 season which took off last 15 September, according to the Tierra del Fuego Tourism Institute. The largest number was concentrated in January, with an estimated 25.000, and this weekend promises to be equally busy with several vessels calling with 10.000 passengers.
Tierra del Fuego tourism industry praised the Argentine government's decisions to end the dollar clamp and make more transparent the foreign money exchange because this will make the country, and Tierra del Fuego, highly competitive internationally. However they also cautioned that consideration must be given to domestic and regional tourists which make up almost 45% of the number of the people visiting the extreme south of Argentina.
The 2015/16 cruise season has taken off in Argentine Tierra del Fuego with the arrival on Monday, of 'Ushuaia' and 90 passengers, one of the 331 calls which are estimated according to Ushuaia authorities. Gianfranco Guardamagna head of the Tierra del Fuego Tourism Institute recalled the significance of the cruise industry for Ushuaia, since the austral city commands 95% of all international Antarctic tourism.
Tierra del Fuego Tourism Institute (Infuetur), in extreme south Argentina, is expecting 25% more cruise visitors this 2015/16 season, most probably breaking the 100.000 milestone, with 336 calls involving 47 cruise vessels. The estimate is 112.170 passengers by April 2016, of which 79.486 non Antarctic and 36.684 Antarctic visitors.