Tourism inArgentinais favoured by its ample and varied natural assets (made possible by its geographical extension) and by its cultural offerings.
The World Economic Forum estimated that, in 2008, tourism generated around US$25 billion in economic turnover, and employed 1.8 million. Domestic tourism amounted to over 80 % of this and tourism from abroad contributed US$ 4.3 billion, having become the third largest source of foreign exchange in 2004. Around 4.6 million foreign visitors arrived in 2007, yielding a positive balance vis-à-vis the number of Argentines traveling abroad.
INDEC recorded 2.3 million foreign tourist arrivals in 2007 (a 12% increase), at the Ministro Pistarini International Airport, alone (around half the total); of these, 26 % arrived from Brazil, 25 % from Europe, 14 % from the United States and Canada, 8 % from Chile, 19 % from the rest of the Western Hemisphere and 8 % from the rest of the World.
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Tourism in Buenos Aires
The Obelisk of Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires, it's sometimes called the "Paris of The Americas", offers a broad range of cultural activities. Visitors may choose to visit a tango show, spend time in one of the many turn-of-the-century cafés, or make a date for a play or show in the city with one of the greatest number of theatres in the World. Time in the city can be followed by a stay in an estancia in the Province of Buenos Aires, home of the traditional Argentine asado.
Lately, new tourist circuits have evolved, devoted to famous Argentines such as Carlos Gardel, Eva Perón or Jorge Luis Borges. Due to the favourable exchange rate, its shopping centers, such as Alto Palermo, Paseo Alcorta, Patio Bullrich, Abasto de Buenos Aires and Galerías Pacífico, are frequently visited by tourists.
Montserrat and San Telmo are well-known, traditional areas in the south of city. They conserve much of their historic architecture, including houses from colonial times and cobblestoned streets. One can see impressive churches, museums, antique shops and Antique Fairs (Ferias de Antiguedades) in historic Dorrego Square around which, one finds actors in the street, tango dancers and, of course, many tourists.
The Penitentiary Museum (Museo Penitenciario) is a Jesuit building that was a [prison for more than 150 years. The 300 year old Church of San Pedro Telmo represents the Catholic Order of Samaritans, conserving antique images on the windows and walls. Pasaje la Defensa ("Defensa Arcade") was an old residence that now is a marketplace with cafés and antique shops. People that like tango will enjoy a show at El Viejo Almacén, a colonial-era corner store rebuilt as a music hall by famous tango vocalist Edmundo Rivero.
Belgrano, Palermo, Recoleta and Puerto Madero are four upscale neighborhoods often in tourists' itinerary for their architecture and variety of social, cultural and nightlife events.
In Palermo, the must-see's include Palermo SoHo (full of boutiques), Palermo Hollywood to get a bite, and Palermo Chico. If you like nature, visit Argentina's version of the Central park: the park Tres de Febrero. This includes a Botanic Garden, the Zoo, the biggest Japanese garden outside Asia, the Palermo Ponds, and the Rosedal. In Recoleta visit the Cinco Esquinas, and the Recoleta Cemetery.
La Costa district
Seven Colors Hill, Purmamarca
Lake Nahuel Huapi
Las Leñas ski resort, one of the best-known in the world.
The nation's rail and road network fans out from Buenos Aires and into the central region,
The nation's rail and road network fans out from Buenos Aires and into the central region, the temperate area centered around the Pampas. This region includes numerous Estancias (cattle ranches) catering to travelers, and located within a few hours' drive from Buenos Aires. The central region is also home to the most visited tourist destination in the country, Mar del Plata, and other maritime resorts such as the Costal District, Pinamar, Cariló, Villa Gesell, Miramar, Necochea, Monte Hermoso, Bahía Blanca and the Pehuencó shore. Inland attractions in the region include Sierra de la Ventana and the Ventana System, Tandil, Junín and Lake Gómez, Villa de Merlo, Lake Potrero de los Funes, the Comechingón Hills, and the surrounding Dry Pampas, among numerous others.
Iguazu Falls, located on the northeast of Argentina, are the best known falls in the area and have a good infrastructure for the traveler, and plenty of activities to be done in the area. The falls and the area surrounding are part of the Iguazú National Park that preserves the local subtropical rainforest ecosystem. The most impressive of the falls is known as the Devil's Throat, shared with Brazil.
The Train to the Clouds, offers a view to the stark contrasts of the province of Salta. It begins in the city of Salta city ascends to San Antonio de los Cobres, reaching an altitude over 4,000 meters.
The Punilla Valley, a scenic Córdoba Province anchored by San Roque Lake and the Cosquín River. Well-known tourist destinations in the valley include Villa Carlos Paz, Cruz del Eje, Capilla del Monte, La Cumbre, La Falda, Valle Hermoso, and Cosquín. Cosquín is known locally for its National Folklore Festival, held every January.
Other well-known resorts in Córdoba Province include Calamuchita Valley, the Sierras de Córdoba, Villa Cura Brochero, Mina Clavero, La Cumbrecita, Villa General Belgrano, Mar Chiquita, Córdoba Argentina, and Pampa de Achala, among others.
Elsewhere in the region, destinations of interest include:
The Calchaquí Valleys
Tafí del Valle
Quebrada de Humahuaca
Seven Colors Hill
Pucará de Tilcara
Valle de la Luna
Puna de Atacama
Esteros del Iberá
San Ignacio Miní
Los Glaciares National Park, where glaciers that drain the Southern Patagonian Ice Field end in the Lago Argentino, blocking one of its bays until the pressure of the water blows the ice dam.
Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world, located in Tierra del Fuego, is a typical destination in southern Patagonia.
Bariloche - San Carlos de Bariloche is a city in the Río Negro Province, situated on the foothills of the Andes, surrounded by lakes (Nahuel Huapi, Gutiérrez Lake, Moreno and Mascardi Lake) and mountains (Tronador, Cerro Catedral, Cerro López). It is famous for skiing but also great for family trips for older children and sight-seeing, water sports, trekking and climbing. Cerro Catedral is one of the most important ski centers in South America.
Punta Tombo is a coastal location where abundant wildlife congregates-specifically the seasonal breeding ground of large numbers of Magellanic penguins.
Peninsula Valdés is widely considered to be one of the best places in the world for the observation of wildlife, mainly sea mammals. Although Southern Right Whales are the main attraction elephant seals, sea lions, Magellanic penguins and orcas are also well represented.
Santa Cruz Province is known for its remoteness and for landmarks such as the Perito Moreno Glacier, Laguna del Carbon (the lowest geographical point in the Americas), Mount Fitz Roy (shared with Chile) and the Petrified Forests National Monument, as well as the vast patagonian plateau and pebble beaches.
Other destinations in the region include seaside Las Grutas (in Río Negro), Rada Tilly; The Aconcagua, the highest mountain in the western hemisphere and nearby Las Leñas ski resort; Villa La Angostura, San Martín de los Andes, Junín de los Andes, El Bolsón, Esquel, Trevelin, Los Antiguos, Copahue, Caviahue, near snow capped mountains with temperate rainforests and glacial lakes; San Rafael and Mendoza, where the best wines of Argentina are made.
Tourism centering around fauna is also popular, particularly whale-watching in Puerto Madryn.
World Heritage Sites
Jesuit estancia at Alta Gracia
Ruins of the great Jesuit mission at San Ignacio Miní, whose story inspired The Mission.
These are the UNESCO's World Heritage Sites in Argentina:
Cave of the Hands (Cueva de las Manos), Río Pinturas. Has prehistoric cave paintings (WHS since 1999).
Iguazú National Park, home of Iguazu Falls (1984).
Ischigualasto / Talampaya National Parks and its paleontologic formations (2000).
Jesuit Block and Estancias of Córdoba in Córdoba Province (Cultural Heritage) (2000).
Jesuit missions of the Guaranis: San Ignacio Mini, Santa Ana, Nuestra Señora de Loreto and Santa Maria Mayor (1984).
Los Glaciares National Park and the Perito Moreno Glacier (1981).
Península Valdés, a marine wildlife preserve (1999).
Quebrada de Humahuaca, World Cultural Landscape for its scenic natural beauty and historical sights (2003).
For a more comprehensive list, see List of national parks of Argentina
Argentina has an extensive National Park system, preserving sights of natural beauty, which includes the following:
El Leoncito National Park
El Palmar National Park
Iguazú National Park
Lanín National Park
Los Alerces National Park
Los Arrayanes National Park
Nahuel Huapi National Park
San Guillermo National Park
Talampaya National Park
Tierra del Fuego National Park
Lanín National Park
Government Tourism Agencies
The Secretariate of Tourism was promoted to a full cabinet ministry in June 2010, naming Enrique Meyer the Minister of Tourism. Leonardo Boto is the Chairman of the National Institute of Tourism Promotion.
Safety and security
The U.S. Department of State warns travelers in Argentina that "drivers frequently ignore traffic laws and vehicles often travel at excessive speeds . . . traffic accidents are the primary threat to life and limb in Argentina." Argentina has the highest traffic mortality rate in South America, with Argentinian drivers causing 20 deaths each day (about 7,000 a year), with more than 120,000 people injured or maimed each year. These deaths have included tourists from various parts of the world. Pedestrians should exercise extreme caution.
Ethical Traveler Destination
Argentina was included in the 2010 and 2011 lists of "The Developing World's 10 Best Ethical Destinations." This is an annual ranking produced by Ethical Traveler magazine, which is based on a study of developing nations from around the world to identify the best tourism destinations among them. The benchmarking uses categories such as environmental protection, social welfare, and human rights.