Feria Internacional Turismo 2012

Expos like FIT now draw hundreds of thousands of visitors to Buenos Aires and Argentina annually.

Argentina is now the most visited country in South America, and the country’s widening global appeal is evident in triple-digit growth in international arrivals over the past decade, according to new data released this week by the National Institute for Tourism Promotion (Inprotur).

5.76 million tourists visited Argentina in 2011 and spent over US$5.2 billion nationwide. When we back out the MasterCard city data (which pegs the number of Buenos Aires visitors at 2.2 million spending US$3.0 billion) that means another 3.56 tourists traveled to Argentina’s interior and spent over US$2.2 billion in beautiful regions like Mendoza, Salta, Bariloche, Ushuaia and Iguazu.

International tourist arrivals are growing three times faster in Argentina than the world average, according to Inprotur. While the global average for tourism growth was 33% from 2001 to 2010, Argentina experienced a 102% surge in international arrivals over the same period. Tourism revenue also rose 88% over the same period, and the US$5.2 billion now represents 1.5% of Argentina’s GDP.

Domestic tourism has also grown 362% in Argentina over the past decade, a staycation trend we spotted in January thanks to a detailed travel analysis from our partners at Hoteles.com.

Expo tourism is the other area where Argentina has taken a quantum leap on the world stage, another trend we have chronicled in detail. With 600% growth since 2004, Argentina today ranks #18 in the world in expo tourism. (Full Story in Spanish)

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