With only three months to go before summer, Punta del Este hotels, restaurants and real estate brokerages are bracing for the third consecutive season of fewer visitors and declining tourism revenue.

Punta del Este Threatened By The Perfect Storm is the headline of Marcelo Gallardo’s analysis in today’s El Pais which predicts the 2014/15 summer season will be worse than last year’s now that the economic situation and consumer confidence in both Argentina and Brazil are worse than one year ago.

Gallardo says Punta’s perfect storm is a combination of a plummeting peso in Argentina coupled with the economic slowdown in Brazil. While many Brazilians picked up the tourism slack in recent years, Punta hotels and property owners can no longer be certain that Brazilians will descend on the Conrad, Jose Ignacio and Bikini Beach beyond the traditional Reveillon holiday.

The director of the local real estate association, ADIPE, says Punta del Este rental property owners still do not know how aggressive they will have to be to secure renters for the peak summer months of January and February. 

“There is a lot of uncertainty regarding rental prices for the 2014/15 season. My Argentine friends tell me that with this currency situation (14 pesos : 1 USD), it’s almost impossible to come. Furthermore nobody knows where the dollar will be in Argentina at the end of the year. Those same friends tell me Punta del Este is very expensive. At least for them,” says ADIPE’s Francisco Bistiancic.

“At last month’s Buenos Aires Real Estate Expo, the general attitude among developers and investors was that this situation will last another 18 months. With presidential elections next year in Argentina, the situation will begin to change. At least that is what we hope,” concludes Bistiancic.

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