Buenos Aires' cruise season has kicked off with the arrival at the Argentine capital's river port of the US-flagged World Navigator carrying some 100 passengers from Europe, the United States and Canada.
It was the first of the 21 cruises scheduled for this coming season. The last season before the COVID-19 pandemic saw 118 arrivals out of a total of 132 which had been originally scheduled. The last 14 were the first cancellations in light of the coronavirus outbreak.
Buenos Aires tourism authorities expect some 30,000 tourists this summer over the next few months. The travellers are also scheduled to make calls at Puerto Madryn and Ushuaia. Some of them will also continue their way south to Antarctica
Argentina's Transport Minister Alexis Guerrera said that “we are very happy to welcome World Navigator, its crew and the 100 passengers who chose Argentina to visit us. This first cruise of the season at the Port of Buenos Aires is very good news for many merchants and entrepreneurs who have an engine for their activities in tourism ”.
Guerrera also pointed out that “the entry of visitors begins to be activated through cruise ships, in addition to arrivals by plane and by land, means continuing to promote an activity that is already growing strongly, generating employment and economic growth in many regions of the country.”
José Beni, the controller of the General Ports Administration, said: “It is an immense joy to receive cruise ships again. There were very difficult times for the industry and we worked hard to get ahead. The opening of the season is another sign of economic reactivation since cruise tourism generates many sources of work and is fundamental for the different regional economies.”
General Customs Chief Director Silvia Traverso said: “The return of international tourism to Argentina will allow us to accompany the economic recovery. This is possible thanks to progress in the country's vaccination plan. We work in coordination with different areas of the government to receive hundreds of people who come from abroad.”
The Argentine Government also highlighted through a statement “the importance of the arrival of the first cruise of the season to a federal port, in a context of international uncertainty where many countries in the sector continue with their borders closed, while, in Argentina and other destinations, the economy, and specifically, the tourism sector” it was not quite so.
Argentine authorities have also devised a series of measures to favour tourism such as a 100% discount on port taxes and fees during the 2021-2022 season.