Retail sales in the Patagonian region, which suffered the full impact from fumes and ashes spewed by a neighbouring Chilean volcano, plummeted 49.3% during the first half of July compared to a year ago, according to a survey from the Argentine Confederation of medium sized companies, CAME.
The CAME report which describes the situation as “of extremely high economic cost” has also bashed the tourism industry in Argentine Patagonia main resorts since the disaster occurred a few days before the high winter season.
“The impact and consequences of the Puyehue volcano are far deeper and more extended than imagined”, said CAME.
The fall in sales in the affected areas “is of a very serious magnitude and reflects the economic paralysis suffered by many important towns such as Bariloche, Villa La Angostura, Ushuaia, Puerto Madryn, Rio Gallegos and Comodoro Rivadavia, which have been left completely isolated from the traditional domestic tourism traffic in this time of the year”, adds CAME.
The impact on Patagonia resorts that live from tourism “is proving to be twice as serious because we are at the beginning of the high season when hotels are fully booked and the tourist activity of these weeks determines the economic dynamics for the rest of the year”
“This is particularly visible in the changes to the ecosystem caused by the volcanic ash and also because of the very high economic cost which caused an immediate reduction of the tourist influx and for many resorts in Patagonia this is the main source of income”, concludes the CAME report.