Q. You’ve been working in the tourism sector in Argentina for more than 20 years now. Could you talk about some of your business strategies to boost tourism in your country?
A. If we talk about B2B (business-to-business), there has been a prominent change in the OTA (Online travel agents) and online travel insurance sectors. A lot of business is done through these travel agents—like air tickets, hotels and so on. For consumers, we now have a number of focus groups that study and explore what the prospective visitors expect from this destination. We have research teams with us. We work in classified markets. We devise our programme to promote tourism, taking into account the priority markets, strategy markets, and conventional markets. We think about the likes and dislikes of tourists, and their demands; about how they would want to spend their money in Argentina.
Q. Could you describe the role of tourism in the Argentinian economy?
A. The tourism sector is the engine of the economy. We have certain towns and cities that live only due to tourism. If there is no tourism in those particular places, they will disappear. For example, there are different festivals and activities in towns that move their economy and regional products, for example, their handicrafts. So, one can say that tourism supports the economy in Argentina to a great extent.
Q. How do you plan to promote the lesser-known tourist spots and cities in your country?
A. We have focused our attention on six tourist regions in Argentina: namely Buenos Aires, Cordoba, Cuyo, Litoral, Norte and Patagonia. Buenos Aires is the capital of Argentina and is the influential cultural capital of the world. There are a number of libraries, museums, theatres, as well as malls and restaurants. In Cordoba, cave paintings and ravines will draw a lot of visitors. Cuyo is known for its wine and also features many facilities for adventure sports. Litoral region is all about natural landscape and has a few structures which are now recognised as world heritage sites. Norte, which is in the northern part of Argentina, offers age-old volcanoes and a rich folk tradition. Flora, fauna, lakes, beaches are all major attractions in the Patagonia area. This area has a number of animals from the Antarctica region and also has glaciers. We know that Indian tourists are attracted to Antarctica, so we are here to promote tourism in Antarctica and to give visitors an amazing experience.
Q. Are you also working to promote cultural tourism to Argentina?
A. Yes, Argentina is a very culturally rich country. There are a number of elements in Argentina, which will surely be a delight for the visitors. The dance form Tango is an age-old tradition here. We also value our folk music. Football is another very important dimension that adds to the culture of our country. Similarly, we have a great cinematography industry and our films have won many awards at many festivals the world over. We can look at certain programmes for visitors that offer various such combinations.
Q. Now that we’re talking about Argentinian culture, how can we forget football! Sports play a big part in this context, doesn’t it?
A. We come as an example of a country that has developed itself and also as a country quite interested in sports. Along with football, we have also done well in polo and golf. We also have tennis academies, and players who are associated with the NBA. We know that polo is developed in India but maybe we have the best of polo players and a number of schools who are training in polo. We have a number of football museums here, which the visitors who are enthusiastic about the sport can explore.
Q. What does Argentina has in store for business tourists?
A. In terms of MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conventions, and Events), Argentina is working a lot. We are the number 19th best-liked destinations of MICE in the world. This year, the G20 summit will be held in Buenos Aires. Given our expertise, we are striving now for a better ranking. In our six touristic regions, Argentina offers 48 meeting destinations for all kinds of international events with world-class infrastructure, exhibition and convention centres, national and international hotel chains.