Argentine tourism seeks more Chinese visitors

By Qi Xijia Source:Global Times Published: 2018/3/20 18:03:39

Travel Argentina

In Argentina there is a famous phrase, "I love you until China" to express the lasting deep love between people.

Indeed, Argentina is perhaps one of the farthest travel destinations for Chinese tourists, with a 30-hour flight including a stopover in either Europe, Middle East or the US. However this does not stop Chinese tourists from traveling and exploring the exotic country.

In 2017, Argentina received over 60,000 Chinese people, a 13 percent increase compared with 2016, Emora Franco from MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) Department, Ministry of Tourism, told the Global Times at a tourism promotion event held by the Consulate General of Argentina in Shanghai on Monday.

"We want to have more increase in the Chinese market. We have 17 markets that are our priority in our marketing plan and one of them is the Chinese market," said Franco.

She pointed out that the distance as well as the difference in culture might be what is holding Chinese tourists back, but it is also one of the benefits. "We are curious. We want to know more about other different cultures. Maybe this is one of the advantages that we have," said Franco.

The most visited places for Chinese tourists in Argentina include Iguazu Falls in northeast Argentina, the Patagonia region in southern ­Argentina (for its fresh air, glaciers and proximity to Antarctica) and Buenos Aires, the capital city.

As the first stop to Argentina for international tourists, Buenos Aires receives 800 international flights each week.

For first-time Chinese travelers to Buenos Aires, Constanza Ibarra, MICE Manager, Buenos Aires Tourist Board, recommends three must-see attractions.

Three attractions

First is Recoleta, a luxury neighborhood with European-style architecture lining the street where one can visit and walk around museums and parks. The second is La Boca, one of the first neighborhoods in Buenos Aires inhabited by Italian immigrants. When the Italian people escaped from war they settled in La Boca and started developing the neighborhood.

The neighborhood is now famous for its colorful houses and Caminito Street, where the tango song "Caminito" was created and performed. The third she recommended is the Tigre, a neighborhood north of Buenos Aires. It is a delta surrounded by different islands where one can watch nature and buy local handicrafts.

To attract more Chinese tourists, the Buenos Aires Tourists Board is working closely with the tourism chamber of Argentina in order train Chinese-speaking staff at the hotels, travel agencies and tourist attractions and involve the local Chinese community in tourism.

According to Ibarra, there is a very strong Chinese community in Argentina and most of are located in Buenos Aires. Most operate restaurants, supermarkets or souvenir stores.

"They used to work in tourism, but they were not getting involved studying tourism or hotel management. So we are working very closely with universities and with the Chinese community to encourage young people born in Buenos Aires to study tourism," said Ibarra.

In 2018, Buenos Aires will host a number of large events to bring international tourists and more exposure to the city.

"This year we will host the Youth Olympic Games and we will see approximately 30,000 tourists that will come to Buenos Aires in October," said Ibarra.

"We are going to have the G20 summit in November in Buenos Aires," she added.

La Boca, Buenos Aires


Performers dance Photos: VCG



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