“Come for the Mendoza wine and vineyards, but stay for the horseback riding, fine dining, whitewater rafting, olive tourism, hiking, futbol tournaments, beauty pageants, downhill skiing, rugby matches, new shopping centers and casinos.” OK, maybe it’s a tad verbose, but it’s hard to summarize all of the factors making Mendoza the tourism juggernaut it is today.
All of the above are mentioned by tourism sector analysts as reasons behind Mendoza’s 20% jump in tourism revenue in 2012. Argentines and international visitors spent US$1.31 billion on Mendoza hotels, restaurants and tourism-related activities last year, a whopping US$222 million more than the US$1.09 billion spent in 2011.
The double-digit gain is especially impressive considering the currency controls in place for all of 2012, a factor that led to more Argentine staycations. Mendoza is also capitalizing on more year-round expo tourism, major sporting events like the Argentina/Uruguay World Cup Qualifier Match, and more adventure tourism in regions like the Uco Valley and San Rafael, according to LosAndes.com.
And when it comes to how much tourists spend per day, Mendoza is well above average. Mendoza tourists spent 33% more per day than the national average in Argentina. The local Minister of Tourism, Javier Espina, says that number is more a reflection of the price of entry for big-ticket events in Mendoza rather than the affordability of Mendoza hotel rooms, shops and restaurants.
But as long as the data suggest Mendoza tourists are willing to shell out a little more for fine wine, meals and accommodations, why not push the envelope, says Espina. “We are looking at ways to position ourselves above the national average, so we are looking for tourists who are willing to spend more money. We need to specialize and differentiate ourselves in order to attract that type of tourist.” (Full Story in Spanish)
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