The use of the masculine gender has been adopted for ease of reading and has no discriminatory intent.
Exploration in solidarity lands
Argentina’s landscapes offer a striking contrast: a desert separates the snow-capped peaks of the Andes Mountains from the Atlantic Ocean, not to mention the jungle, crystal-clear lakes and eternal glaciers that dot the wide-open spaces of this country, which covers more than 2.7 million km2. Argentina is the eighth largest country in the world, with a population of over 45 million. With a GDP of $491.5 billion in 2021, Argentina is the 2nd largest economy in South America, behind Brazil. Since 2018, however, the country has been going through a major economic crisis. The peso has lost half its value since 2019 and is still falling. Inflation has since surpassed more than 52% and one in three Argentines now lives below the poverty line.
Before the Covid-19 pandemic, Argentina was breaking its record for tourist visits: over 6 million in 2015 and 7.4 million in 2019. In 2019, Buenos Aires alone was hosting 2 million visitors. In the mass tourism poles, especially in Patagonia, in addition to the many environmental issues generated by the immoderate passage of tourists, social issues are multiplying. The housing shortage and the exodus of locals from their own towns, as is the case in El Chalten, is one example. 5,000 housing spaces in this small town are reserved exclusively for tourists, forcing seasonal workers to live outside the town in mobile homes. Since 1985, this town has gone from 41 to 3,000 inhabitants.
In this context, tourism outside of the major tourist centers and off the beaten path is positioned as a major solution to counter the environmental and social impacts of this economically important sector for the country. Agro-tourism, in particular, is becoming increasingly popular in Argentina and is supported by the government. The country is a major producer of meat, wool and wine. Patagonia in particular is full of agrotourism initiatives ready to welcome visitors and showcase their cultural heritage, gastronomy and way of life.