Speaking to TTG@WTM, Ricardo Sosa, executive secretary of Argentina’s National Institute of Tourism Promotion, said the success of Lionel Messi’s team last November was inspiring international tourists to visit the country and experience sporting events with its famously passionate supporters.
“Argentina is trendy again [following the World Cup] and Argentinian football – Messi, Maradona – it is such a great tourism product,” said Sosa. “Here at WTM we have had operators from all over the world – Bangladesh, Bulgaria, Lebanon – asking us about selling Argentina.”
As a result, Argentina celebrated its second best year for 13 years during January-September 2023, welcoming 5.3 million international visitors – with seven million projected by the end of the year.
Sosa highlighted events helping attract sports tourists during 2023, such as Argentina’s MotoGP race in April. “We can track from questionnaires at passport control, ticket sales and hotel reservations to see that international visitors are coming,” he said.
Helping fuel visitor growth from the UK since March, British Airways reinstated its Heathrow-Buenos Aires route, serving the Argentine capital five times a week. Sosa revealed to TTG@WTM Argentina’s tourism chiefs had met with Virgin Atlantic to discuss the potential for a new route – although he stressed nothing had yet been agreed.
Meanwhile, a mouth-watering draw for travellers to the country will be the imminent arrival of the Michelin Guide. Focusing on Buenos Aires and the Mendoza wine region, Argentina will be the first Hispanic Latin American country highlighted by the fine-dining guide, with its first restaurant selection set to be announced later this month.