Buenos Aires is intensifying its efforts to attract British travellers this year, with a concerted focus on promoting the city’s many cultural and gastronomic attractions.
Speaking to Travel Daily UK, Buenos Aires Tourist Board’s Main Director of Product & Marketing, Alfredo José Fragueiro, revealed what visitors can expect when they travel to the Argentine capital.
“Buenos Aires is an immigrant city; we had big flows of immigrants from Italy, Germany and Spain, as well as from countries in the Middle East. This mix of immigrant and Argentinian blood – our people – is our main product,” Fragueiro said.
“We are trying to show the world that we are a city of passion – the perfect mixture between Italian, Spanish and South American traditions. We are really friendly and open to the world.”
This diversity has created strong cultural scene in Buenos Aires; the city is now home to more than 300 theatres, 150 museums and art galleries, as well as around 7,000 restaurants and bars. It is also home to the highest number of football stadia of any city in the world (36 with a capacity in excess of 10,000)!
“We have 48 neighbourhoods and they are all different from one another. Every neighbourhood has had a different immigration flow, so you can find different ways of life,” Fragueiro continued.
“Our big goal this year is to position Buenos Aires’ gastronomy; we have been named as the capital of gastronomy for 2017 for the Spanish-speaking countries. Our cuisine is the perfect fusion between local and immigrant styles – Italian, Spanish and German flavours, mixed with Latin American flavours from Bolivia, Peru and the Andes. And you can never forget about the meat – our steak; you can be served up to 800 grams of steak on one plate! It’s also affordable – not the cheapest in Latin America, but it’s not our goal to be cheap.”
This melting pot of cultures has also given Buenos Aires a reputation as being a friendly city – in one poll it ranked as the friendliest in Latin America and the fifth friendliest in the world. And this level of tolerance has given rise to a thriving LGBT scene. In 2010, Buenos Aires became the first city in Latin America where same sex couples could get married, and this facility has now been extended to tourists. The city also hosts annual festivals for the LGBT community.
“We are diverse; we are a luxury destination, a MICE destination, an LGBT destination, as well as having many cultural, gastronomic and sporting attractions,” Fragueiro commented.
Airlift remains an issue for Buenos Aires, with only British Airways currently offering direct flights from the UK. But LEVEL, BA’s new low-cost, long-haul airline, recently announced plans to fly direct from Barcelona to the Spanish capital, and Norwegian will start flying between London and Buenos Aires in September. And Fragueiro said that the Argentine government is taking positive action to boost the country’s aviation sector.
“Airlines are looking at Buenos Aires to invest. It’s a slow process, but this year we’ll have LEVEL, and other European and international airlines are in conversation with the Argentine government to come back to Buenos Aires. Some big names are set to return!”
Last year more than 60,000 British tourists in Argentina, which marked a slight increase from 2015. This makes the UK Argentina’s third largest European source market after Spain and France. But 2017 will be the first year Buenos Aires has invested money in digital media campaigns in the UK.
“We are really focused in Spain and Britain. We working one-to-one with journalists, we’re working on trade fairs and also with travel agencies,” Fragueiro revealed.
With the city’s melting pot of cultures and its focus on the British loves of food and football, plus its appeal to the LGBT market, Buenos Aires could start to attract even more British tourists in the coming years.