It would be an understatement to say this has been a terrible year for the tourism sector in Bariloche.
The June eruption of the Puyehue volcano brought falling ash and canceled flights to a region poised for a record ski season. With dozens of inbound charter flights scheduled from Brazil and the real flexing its muscle like never before, A Festa Brasiloche was poised to explode.
Now, a full month into High Season, the situation has not improved dramatically. The first charter flight from Sao Paulo did not arrive until last Monday, and flight resumption has been slow on the uptick. Even this morning, the lingering ash clouds have forced LAN and other carriers to cancel flights out of Aeroparque Jorge Newberry. These 2011 downhill doldrums have apparently been enough to give the operator of Bariloche’s best-known ski center ample pause for reflection…so ample they may sell the whole mountain.
Cronista’s Matias Bonelli says the shareholders of the company that manages the concession for Cerro Catedral have decided to sell the operation and, not surprisingly, several interested parties have emerged. One of the biggest is Grupo Burco from Belgium, the developers behind the successful Arelauquen Golf & Country Club, a beautiful 1,900-acre master planned golf/ski/polo community. Bonelli mentions Banco Macro as another potential suitor, although they may play the role of financier for a Burco deal.
And to the victor go the snowy spoils…at least for the next fourteen years. While the existing concession agreement with the City of Bariloche runs through 2026, Bonelli says the City has not indicated a willingness to extend that term. (Full Story in Spanish)
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