Argentina’s Economic Turmoil Hits International Travel

Cruise ships docked at the Port of Buenos Aires

The fall-out from Argentina’s financial turmoil is having a huge impact on travel to and from the country, according to latest figures from ForwardKeys which predicts future travel patterns by analyzing 17 million booking transactions a day.

Outbound travel bookings collapsed after the Peso crashed in May and President Mauricio  Macri asked the IMF for a bailout, according to ForwardKeys. Bookings for travel from Argentina to other Latin American countries (which have the largest share of Argentina’s outbound travel, at 43%) slumped year-on-year by 26.1%.

Total international outbound bookings were down 20.4%, having shown an increase of 8.4% between January and April. Other destinations hit are the US and Canada down 18.2%, and the Caribbean, down 36.8%. All had shown increases up to April.

Chile tops the list of countries showing the largest falls in flight bookings from Argentina year-on-year, down 50.6%. Cuba is down 43.2%.

The ForwardKeys findings show the countries most potentially affected by Argentina’s travel collapse, because of their market share of its visitors, are Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Chile, followed by Bolivia, Peru, Cuba and Colombia.

Argentina itself is also suffering an inbound decline among Latin American travellers who are described as being nervous about its current economic difficulties. Bookings made in May were nearly 14% down on those made in May last year.

Looking ahead, ForwardKeys said that Argentina’s problems are set to persist as the country struggles to find economic cures. Bookings for arrival in June to August are behind by 4.9% on last year. Bookings from Brazil alone are lagging by 9%.

ForwardKeys CEO and co-founder, Olivier Jager, commented: “I was in Buenos Aires just two months ago and everything was buzzing but all of a sudden, Argentina has suffered a very severe reversal of fortune. For the first four months of this year, growth in both inbound and outbound travel was extremely healthy but in May everything changed. Normally a fall in a country’s currency will lead to a surge in bookings as the destination becomes tangibly better value for international visitors. However, a severe decline which is triggered by a domestic economic and political crisis, can actually have the opposite effect and put off visitors, at least in the short term. I wish I could point to a rebound but there is little evidence of that right now.”

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