In the successive long weekends, the high percentages of hotel occupancy are usually presented as a symptom of a greater dynamism of internal tourism and of a greater movement of Argentines across borders. Official data seems to refute this inference.. Official data seems to refute this inference. The results of the Hotel Occupancy Survey (EOH) of the National Institute of Statistics and Censuses (INDEC), corresponding to April, allow us to more clearly analyze the performance of the sector in the first four-month period of the year.
At the national level, during the first four months of 2023, a total of 7,386,302 travelers stayed in hotel and para-hotel establishments (which we will call hotels, from here on out). This is 8.5% more than in the same period last year.. However, from the breakdown of this value, interesting conclusions can be drawn.
First of all, this improvement was driven by the influx of foreign tourists, which in the period January-April 2023 increased by 160% year-on-year. To illustrate it even more eloquently, in the first quarter of 2023 one in four travelers staying in hotels in our country came from abroad, when in the first quarter of 2022 that relationship had been only one in ten. In that period the Argentine borders were already completely open.
160% Year-on-year increase in foreign tourists staying in Argentina in the first four-month period of 2023.
In second place, there was a contraction of domestic tourism. The number of resident travelers staying in the first four months of 2023 was 5,845,816, 6% less than in the same period last year. It should be clarified that the comparison is made with respect to the months in which the second edition of the Previaje was in force.
It is expected that, in general, the records have improved from May for two reasons. On the one hand, there was an abrupt and important depreciation of the Argentine peso at the end of April, which encouraged and encourages even more the arrival of foreign tourists to our country. On the other hand, in May and June the fourth edition of the Previaje was in force, which caused a greater dynamism of internal tourism.
-6% Year-on-year decrease in national tourists staying in Argentina in the first four-month period of 2023.
Duality in Patagonia
The panorama in our region is similar to that observed at the national level, but the variations are more pronounced. A total of 433,528 travelers nonresidents they stayed in hotels in Patagonia in the first four months of 2023, 276.7% more than in the same period of 2022. This is a more than significant increase.
The Andean towns of Río Negro and Neuquén were the ones that most increased the influx of foreign tourists in the period January-April 2023. Bariloche showed an interannual increase of 488% while Villa la Angostura one of 430.2%. But the most outstanding data was recorded by San Martín de los Andes: in the first four months of 2022, only 1,820 foreign tourists had stayed in the city, and this year that number was 23,947, 1,215.8% more.
276.7% Year-on-year increase in foreign tourists staying in Patagonia in the first four-month period of 2023.
“There are more foreigners, the weekends for the Chilean is a program to come”, said Alejandro Marchant, member of the board of directors of the Gastronomic Hotel Association of San Martín de los Andes (AHGSMA). Gerardo Stocker, vice president of the Bariloche Gastronomic Hotel Business Association (AEHGB), pointed in the same direction. “Bariloche receives many foreign tourists, we basically work with foreign tourism”, he indicated.
The largest number of foreign travelers is a constant in all Patagonian towns. During the first four months of 2023, in Río Gallegos it increased by 366.2%, in the city of Neuquén by 328.7% and in Calafate by 279.9%, always in interannual terms.
-18.7% Year-on-year decrease in national tourists staying in Patagonia in the first four-month period of 2023.
The opposite is observed if the lodging of resident travelers is analyzed. The number of tourists of national origin who stayed overnight in hotels in Patagonia fell by 18.7% year-on-year in the first four months of the year. Some of the towns in the region with the greatest falls were Ushuaia (-39.1%), Puerto Madryn (-35.4%), and Las Grutas (-23.3%). These two coastal towns are more dependent on domestic tourism, so the lesser dynamism of this affects them more strongly. “The last two summer seasons were not very profitable, last long weekend was very weak” summed up Julio Pondal, president of the Río Negro Atlantic Zone Hoteliers and Gastronomy Association (AHGZARN).
The only Patagonian cities that saw an increase year after year in the number of resident travelers staying were Neuquén and Río Gallegos.
1,215.8% Year-on-year increase in foreign tourists staying in San Martín de los Andes in the first four-month period of 2023.
The favorites of Patagonia
In the first four months of 2023, The Patagonian city that hosted the most tourists was Bariloche, also ranking in the top 5 nationally. They complete the podium of the Calafate and Ushuaia region.
For its part, San Martín de los Andes and the city of Neuquén ranked fourth and fifth in Patagoniarespectively.