Argentina is expecting over five million tourists this year, a historic record which represents a 15.5% increase over 2009, said Tourism Minister Enrique Meyer.
“Foreign tourist arrivals in 2010 will be over five million, which is a new record”, said Meyer based on the numbers from the first quarter, up 14.5%, May, plus 21.9% and April, 9.7% compared to a year ago.
The Minister also revealed that air bookings are at a record level for the rest of the year and said that one of the positive factors this year has been the significant retraction of the A H1N1 flu scare following the 2009 pandemic.
Last year the number of foreign passengers visiting Argentina dropped 14.1% to 1.999.535 and spent the equivalent of 2.6 billion US dollars, according to official statistics.
The International Tourist poll from the Ministry of Tourism showed that during May, 191.665 foreign tourists arrived in Argentina which represents an increase of 21.9% over May 2009.
Of that total, 30.3% were from Brazil; 11.4% from Chile; rest of Latinamerica, 21.7%; Europe, 19.3%; United States and Canada, 11.8% and the rest of the world, 5.5%.
Last June the Argentine government upgraded the Tourism Office to Ministry taking into account that the tourism sector represents 6% of GDP and an even greater percentage in creation of jobs.
Tourism in Argentina has increased steadily since 2003, mostly because of a favourable exchange rate following the collapse of the fixed parity of 1 US dollar equivalent to 1 Argentine peso. The exchange rate now stands at 3.90 Argentine pesos to the US dollar.