Fiesta de Turismo y Vino San Rafael

The Tourism & Wine Festival in San Rafael celebrated the beauty of Mendoza (Photo: Mathias Guijarro)

We will remember 2011 in Argentina for many things, and one of the best was the weekend we fell in love with San Rafael, Mendoza. Our original trip in April was followed by a return trip in July. Sandwiched in between our visits was San Rafael being named one of the World’s Best Places to Retire by no less an authority than CNNMoney and Fortune Magazine.

With word getting out this year about one of Argentina’s formerly best kept secrets, San Rafael (aka Bonarda Country) took time to celebrate this weekend by hosting Mendoza’s 27th Annual Wine & Tourism Celebration. (Photos from MediaMZA) Thousands of Argentines and international visitors gathered for three days of food, wine, pageants, rafting and dancing dedicated to two of the key drivers of Mendoza’s economy.

Just how serious is Mendoza getting about tourism? Diario Uno’s Nacho Rodriguez says very serious, and he points to the creation of a new Mendoza Ministry of Tourism as proof. “Tourism is now a US$1 billion dollar business for Mendoza thanks to the 2 million visitors she receives annually,” writes Rodriguez. He says the new Minister Javier Espina wasted little time in assuming his new role. Espina was front and center in San Rafael welcoming participants and supporting the 2011 Wine & Tourism festivities. (Full Story in Spanish)

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