Enrique Antía, Mayor of the Uruguayan department of Maldonado where the elite Punta del Este beach resort is located Tuesday warned of actions by the Buenos Aires Government of President Alberto Fernández to persuade vacationers against travelling abroad next Summer.
Antía also admitted this tug of war took place every year in the months leading up to vacation times but he added that he sensed this time around things were a bit harsher.
The main argument in favour of the Buenos Aires authorities remains the high prices in Uruguay in addition to a currency conversion rate applied to the Argentine peso which has been reported to be eightfold higher than the official parity in Argentina (a mere formality, because very few can actually access that quote -Government officials and relatives of people disappeared during the military dictatorship among them) and around four times more expensive than the black market rate.
A counter-campaign from Buenos Aires always appears, official or para official, saying that in Miramar, Pinamar or Mar del Plata prices are better. It is a logical game that they do it. What happens here is that people want to come here because they want to rest, to be well and enjoy a variety of beaches and gastronomy, Antía said in a radio interview.
Antía also hoped Uruguayan businesses would not try to take advantage of foreign visitors and “do not act crazy.” The mayor said it was a “matter of awareness” to set prices in a normal way.”
Antía did acknowledge that Uruguay's prices were above average when compared to other countries in the region and that he would seek to generate consensus among tour operators and owners to be very careful with costs, with prices expected to be similar to those last year. Every year this discussion appears, but today what worsens the most is the exchange difference: we are expensive abroad, both for Argentines and Brazilians, and the country cost forces you to be much more cautious.
The mayor was confident in recovering the balance of the tourist activity of previous years and explained that, in addition to the third dose to foreigners, a local attraction could be to have a good functioning of public services. People want to come to a neat and orderly place where they can live well, he remarked.
Antía also submitted a proposal to President Luis Lacalle Pou whereby third doses of COVID-19 vaccines would be offered to foreign travellers. He added Lacalle was “a man who listens” and that it was now up to him. The issue is in the hands of the National Government,” he said.