There aren’t many of us that go to Argentina despite the fact that for some of us there are strong links. With names like Puerto Madryn (Port Madryn), there are clues to the number of Welsh who settled there in the nineteenth century. From next March it will be easier to go there as British Airways will be launching a direct service from London. This week, the Argentinian Minister of Tourism, Enrique Meyer, was over here to help announce the service. Declaring that 2011 will be the year of Argentina might be a bit ambitious but then with even a modest increase in tourists from the UK, it could be the start given the range of holiday options that Argentina offers.
Meyer claims that Argentina offers better customer satisfaction because of the level of service compared to other South American countries and forecasts that tourism will grow by 10% annually for at least a decade. This is compared to a world forecast of an average of 4%. Now he has an agreement with BA so that the airline will promote the destination as well. The BA merger with the Spanish airline Iberia has given BA a greater interest in South America given the flying connections that Iberia has so you can expect some enthusiasm from BA in its promotions to get us to go there.
So why go to Argentina?
Buenos Aires, the capital like most capitals has enough to keep you occupied for days with a combination of food museums and sightseeing. But away from Buenos Aires and to the north are the Iguazu Falls and a clutch of national parks with rainforest, swamplands and an abundance of wildlife. To the far north are the plains, the relics of the conquest days and pre Columbian civilization. Nestled next to the border with Chile are wine growing areas and what is known as Cuyo, desert country. Then there is Patagonia where the Welsh went and which has a spectacular coastline, glaciers and the wildlife that comes up from the Antarctic. Which leads to Tierra del Feugo, the hopping off place for Antarctic exploration.
Summing up Argentina in one paragraph leaves out so much. But it does show how diverse the appeal to visitors can be and why maybe the minister is right. It could be the year of Argentina.