by Adrián Royffer

The tourism economy is one of the main affected by the pandemic. The World Tourism Organization estimates that in the course of 2020 there was a decrease between 60% and 80% in the international tourism economy for each of the regions. Entering 2021, all countries continue with partial or total restrictions on foreign tourism. In Argentina, they knew how to combine immediate measures to support the sector, and at the same time promote changes to develop recovery measures. The priority search is put in the restoration of the confidence of the travelers and the reconsideration of the tourism sector for the future.

What’s there to do?

● Reduce travel restrictions.

● Work with companies to access liquidity support.

● Strengthen health protocols for safe travel. And control them.

● “Safe and clean” marks or labels for destinations.

● Information mobile applications for visitors.

● Campaigns to promote short-distance tourism (less than 150km).

At the national level, for October 2020, 195 thousand overnight stays in hotels were estimated. Overnight stays by resident travelers registered a 93.9% drop and those by non-residents decreased 99%. For the development of technical reports such as those prepared by Indec, it is usual that not enough information is available to make estimates respecting criteria of statistical significance and confidentiality. This is part of the problem: We don’t handle enough data to find useful correlations or generate new insights.

580 thousand people used Pre-trip, the program of the Ministry of Tourism and Sports of the Nation to promote domestic tourism with the return of 50% of expenses. According to official estimates, $ 15 billion was injected into the sector. About 50% of the consumption was in Travel Agencies, 40% was in accommodation and 9% in transport. The destinations of the provinces of Río Negro, Buenos Aires, Córdoba, Tierra del Fuego and Mendoza were among the most chosen.

So far this summer season what we do know is that:

– More people preferred to rent homemade “bubbles”, to avoid common spaces.

– There are more young tourism and fewer families.

– The demand for car rental saw its supply exceeded.

– Average length of stay increased.

There is a positive relationship between suggested measures for health prevention and initiatives that promote tourism development. On the podium, privileging the use of digital means of payment stands out. This is one of the main strategies that municipalities can promote to favor the development of the sector. In due course, the moment is more than propitious, due to the proliferation of electronic wallets and digital payment platforms, added to the increase in competition in the segment with the landing of the main financial entities from the hand of MODO (Play Digital), and the banks’ own digital payment systems.

Among other weaknesses that municipalities can strengthen, there is a deficiency in passenger transfer services and delivery-type courier services. That is, if we understand by deficiency the lack of web applications that after a few clicks guarantee that a vehicle will pick you up in the next few minutes. As siesta times in these towns are not negotiated, visitors have no choice but to adapt to the local rhythm. And it doesn’t hurt either, the disconnection from virtuality is also reinforced by stopping that constant anxiety of “now now” to which life in big cities has us accustomed. But finding a balance will help these towns to promote tourism development.

: Political scientist and entrepreneur.