With just a few days for the official end of the 2009/2010 cruise season Buenos Aires City is celebrating an increase in the number of ship calls and visitors, according to the preliminary results of a poll contracted by the City’s Tourism Board.
The poll indicates that a total of 298.500 visitors have arrived so far at the Quinqula Martin terminal which represents an 11.4% increase over the previous season, making it one of the best seasons in recent years.
“This means that Buenos Aires city is consolidating as a full attraction for cruise passengers”, said Hernan Lombarid, head of Culture and Tourism from the Argentine capital. “The poll is showing us that up to 50% of cruise visitors said that choosing Buenos Aires as one of the ports to call was decisive for the contracting of the trip”, he added.
The break up of the 298.500 visitors shows that 81% are foreigners and 19% Argentines non residents in Buenos Aires. Among foreigners Brazilians top the list with 36%, followed by the US with 20% and Europeans 11%. The rest of the American continent contributed 5%.
Lombardi admitted that half way through last year in the peak of the H1N1 flu outbreak “we were very concerned about summer prospects”, however the City of Buenos Aires embarked on an aggressive promotion campaign to retain and increase the number of visitors.
“It was a joint effort between City authorities and the private sector specially hotels, which offered low rates, competitive and attractive for foreign tourists”, said Lombardi who also pointed out that this year’s visitors were more willing to spend and “we therefore believe they belonged to a higher income bracket”.
An interesting fact is that over half the visitors (56%), when the cruise vessel spent more than a day and night in Buenos Aires, opted for a hotel bed. The average room rate was equivalent to 100 US dollars and if the tourists were Canadians, Europeans or from the US the average was 150 USD.
Similarly 34% contracted a city tour, a percentage which jumps to 53% for the US and Canadian visitors. Tango was a top attraction with 22% of visitors present at some typical show and display of the River Plate ports’ music and dancing.
Most cruise visitors (63%) went shopping while in Buenos Aires city. They spent on average 100 US dollars, but Brazilians beat the “pack” with an average 160 USD per person per day, according to the preliminary data from the poll.
As to how visitors spent their monies, 49% on clothing; souvenirs, 23%, leather goods, 18%. Brazilians again were the most attracted by Argentine clothing and fashion: 75% acquired a garment followed by 54% of Argentines.
But beyond the increase in the number of cruise visitors and spending, there’s another fact which local operators underline and that is that 72% described their time and the image they take with them of Buenos Aires City as “very good” or “excellent”
“It was an excellent season. The recovery of tourists following the A H1N1 flu was the fastest and strongest in the region, and this is shown by the numbers from the poll”, said Lombardi.
He added that the cruise market is the most predictable of tourist operations, since before hand you are aware of the number of new vessels under construction and the capacity they will have. “This makes investing in cruise tourism a safe investment”, concluded Lombardi.