The increased domestic and international air connections nationwide are enabling hotels to improve their occupancy and profits despite rising prices and falling demand. Air fares, already more competitive with the advent of low-cost airlines, are now even more so with the recent devaluation, which makes Argentina cheaper for the foreign tourist while overseas flights become more expensive for the Argentine traveller.
Córdoba, Mendoza and Rosario are among the main beneficiaries of these trends. According to EANA (Empresa Argentina de Navegación Aérea) data, Mendoza airport increased passenger traffic by 61% last year as against 2016 (when it only operated for nine months) with 1.8 million passengers while hotel occupancy rose from 51.6 to 69.4% even though their prices rose 31% in dollar terms and 46.7% in pesos. The Malbec wine from the vineyards at the foothills of the Andes is considered a key factor in this improvement (international passengers increased 107%).
Córdoba’s main strength is as a hub for some 2.89 million passengers last year, up 30% from 2016 (with international traffic growing 41%). Hotel occupancy last year rose 10.7% last year to an almost identical percentage to Mendoza (69.2%) even if hotel prices rose 23.7% in dollar terms and 38.5% in pesos. The airport will be adding connections with Brazil, Madrid (via Asunción) and Punta Cana (Dominican Republic) this year with local sources optimistic for this year due to the pickup in the auto industry.
Finally, Rosario hotels are also optimistic about increasing their occupancy and prices at the same time due to more business trips from improved air connections. Air traffic rose to 773,000 passengers last year, an increase of 41% from 2016, while hotel occupancy reached 66.7% despite raising their dollar prices 21.9% and 36.5% in pesos.