Buenos Aires is enjoying a special year with its designation as Ibero-American Capital of Gastronomic Culture.
Tourists will now be able to join free tours alongside locals and get an insider’s view of the city’s restaurants and eateries, including perennial favourites and hot new discoveries.
The tours will take place on the third Saturday of each month at 17:00, each one focussing on a particular neighbourhood and theme, and accompanied by a different specialist.
March’s edition will be guided by the prestigious bartender Federico Cuco, a Buenos Aires celebrity and icon for the city’s trendy young inhabitants.
Throughout the year tourists will be taken everywhere from traditional Spanish style taverns, Italian stone oven pizzerías, Argentine asado houses (the national style of cooking meat over red hot coal) and much, much more.
All tours will have an emphasis on understanding the history, evolution and preparation of each cuisine.
Gonzalo Robredo, executive director of ENTUR, said: “Gastronomic tourism is an area with huge potential for Buenos Aires.
“The city’s traditional cuisine offer both world famous meat and dishes from immigrant communities.
“Most traditionally these have been Italian and Spanish with some other influences, but in recent years we have incorporated the best of Latin American cuisine, Japanese and more”.
Robredo added: “I believe that we are at a key moment which combines gastronomic development and technological evolution, leading to the constant creation of new dishes, and making Buenos Aires a true culinary leader in Latin America.”
president Mauricio Macri has announced that foreign tourists will be reimbursed for the VAT on their hotel stays in the country, a measure which will be implemented with immediate effect.
This policy had been requested by the tourism industry for more than 15 years, and is aimed at maintaining and advancing Argentina’s competitiveness in the industry.
VAT in Argentina is currently at 21 per cent.
The policy will cost the state US$37.7 million, according to minister of tourism Gustavo Santos.
It is hoped that, within a year of its implementation, an extra 95,000 tourists will visit the country, generating an extra US$70 million.
The bill in favour of the measure emphasised the importance of tourism to the Argentine economy, and the need for “a simple, direct and automatic mechanism to reimburse VAT to foreign tourists, in order to improve the competitiveness of the Argentine tourism industry”.
This will apply to accommodation and breakfast, when the latter was included as part of the accommodation package, and the reimbursement will take place immediately at the point of payment.
In order to qualify, payments must be made with a foreign credit or debit card.
Tourists will need to provide name and surname, nationality, residency and passport or ID number.
If the bookings are made by travel agencies or tour operators, these will need to provide this information on behalf of their clients.
This measure comes in light of similar policies implemented by other countries and reflects a growing understanding of the importance of tourism to the global economy, as well as a renewed drive by Argentina’s government to attract trade and investments from around the world.
Argentinian ministry of tourism, through the National Institute of Tourism Promotion, carried out an important commercial mission to Dublin, Ireland, and Edinburgh, Scotland, earlier.
After participating in the World Travel Market in London, the INPROTUR team moved to Ireland and later to Scotland to continue promoting the Argentinian destinations in the European continent.
Diego Sadofschi, head of the Consular Section of the Embassy of Argentina in Ireland, was present during the promotion in Dublin.
The diplomat was accompanied by several national representatives.
Two workshops were held in both cities.
Sadofschi said: “The Argentina World Friendly brand was very well received by the public, who valued the message of friendship and opening with the outside world.
“The appointments were useful for the private sector to have business meetings with local operators, who showed strong interest in promoting our offers.
“Both in Ireland and Scotland, the guests were able to taste typical Argentinian food, with our excellent wines.”
Arrivals of British tourists in the first ten months of the year grew four per cent compared to the same period of 2015.
More than 35,000 travellers from the UK arrived in our territory from January to October of the current year, while throughout 2015 Argentina received 43,962 tourists.
The highest number of arrivals was between January and March.