Uruguay's summer season (December/March) attracted 650.000 foreign tourists of which 412.000 Argentines and 115.000 Brazilians according to an official release Thursday from the Ministry of Tourism. Overall the season was described as good but less promising than 2005/06.
Deputy Minister Lilian Kechichian admitted that the dispute with Argentina over the pulp mills, and pickets blocking land access to Uruguay, had an impact on the outcome of the season, however on the bright side the number of tourists from Paraguay, Chile and out of the region (United States, Canada, Australia and Germany) increased considerably. The release indicated that the number of days spent by tourists in Uruguay increased on average 13.7%, with daily expenditure jumping 28% and overall expenditure 22%, which represents in excess of 153 million US dollars. In February 2007, the number of foreign tourists arriving in Uruguay reached 193.059, 5% less than a year ago, although overall expenditure was higher. In the second half of the month which coincides with Carnival, the number of Argentines, Brazilians and Chilean visitors soared 60, 48 and 100%. The main destinations chosen by tourists include seaside resorts of Maldonado, Rocha and Canelones, as well as Colonia and the hot springs of Salto and Paysandu. The majority of tourists arrived in Uruguay through Colonia on the ferry shuttle at a rate of 10.399 per day compared to 5.600 in 2006. Ms Kechichián said her office will beef tourism promotion in Brazil and Chile for the next season 2007/08, and "let's hope that by the pulp mills conflict with Argentina will be over with a satisfactory solution for both sides".