New government data on arrivals and departures underlines the devastating impact of the coronavirus pandemic on tourism, which remains the sector of the economy hardest hit by the virus crisis.
In the first five months of the year, the arrival of foreign tourists to Argentina fell 90.6 percent as against the same period of 2020, while the outflow of local residents shrank 71.2 percent.
Barely 6,800 tourists entered the country in May, 32 percent down from the previous month, reported the INDEC national statistics bureau, while there were 30,000 residents travelling in the opposite direction, six percent down from April.
INDEC did not make any comparisons between May this year and last due to the total restrictions in the latter month.
In the first five months of last year, 663,000 foreign tourists came to Argentina as against a mere 62,100 in the same period this year. The same figures for local residents going abroad were 792,800 and 228,300 respectively.
The activity picked up very slightly in the first quarter of this year with monthly arrivals averaging 10-20,000 as against a pre-pandemic monthly average of around 300,000.
With most airports out of bounds for international tourism, Ezeiza International Airport and Aeroparque Jorge Newbery concentrated 99.6 percent of May arrivals (but 89.6 percent down from the same month last year) and 99.2 percent of the outgoing traffic of domestic residents (down 64.6 percent from May, 2020).
In the last 15 months there was virtually no activity in the first nine months and only very partially since.
The May balance of incoming and outgoing international tourism was negative to the tune of 23,300 and 166,200 for the first five months of the year.