After the hard blow that the hotel industry received during the first 24 months of the pandemic, 2022 ended with a resounding change in trend: according to a report just issued by Entur de CABA “last year ended with very positive signs for the hotel industry, with more national tourists staying than in 2019 and an average occupancy of 60%. There were also occupancy peaks of over 90%”. In economic terms, the contribution was significant since in the year the item invoiced almost US$ 1,800 million.
In the report issued by the Buenos Aires Tourism Entity, it is read that “the City continues on the path of recovery in tourism: after the pandemic, the number of national tourists staying in hotels increased and the occupancy rate reached touch the highest number of the last decade.
According to Lucas Delfino, president of the Entity, the average occupancy last year was 60% and the historical records of 2017, 2018 (which reached 59%) and also the last pre-pandemic period were exceeded: in 2019 it reached 58%. Last year it ended with 2.4 million national tourists staying, which means 60 thousand more people than in 2019.
Delfino told PERFIL: “We consider that national tourism is a pillar of our public policies. Last year we managed to have a large number of tourists from all over the country. For 2023 we want to go deeper into the different activations that destinations carry out, in order to increase the current numbers. We hope to end 2023 with an even higher number of domestic passengers in local hotels.
In this sense, from the City they told this newspaper that to consolidate this year’s growth the Entity will seek to “extend the norm to include incentives for the construction of new hotels that incorporate spaces designed for the so-called “business tourism”, segment where Buenos Aires is currently among the most competitive cities on the planet.
Peaks. What were the peak moments of hotel occupancy in 2022? Surprisingly, they coincided with two recitals: the Top One was given during Coldplay’s series of concerts, where 92% occupancy was “played”. The podium of positive figures was completed during the Easter holiday –91% of rooms occupied– and with the Lollapalooza event: 82%.
During the past year, the City was able to “resurrect” a good part of the business that had been harassed by the closures of the pandemic isolation: 80% of the hotel rooms available before 2020 were recovered. Today -according to the records- the City has almost 53 thousand places available. Clearing up this data, the companies that best managed to weather the pandemic were the 5-star category hotels, with 100% recovery in the available places, while the 4-star establishments recovered 94% of their places and the 3-stars the 89% of its availability.
In economic terms, the contribution was significant: 2022 ended by generating around US$1.8 billion for the city economy, with a significant impact on related sectors, basically gastronomy, transportation, and culture. The “average” expense of the national tourist in his stay as a citizen was US$124 for nationals and US$776 for international travelers.
According to data compiled by the Observatory of the Tourism Entity, employment in the “hotel” sector also recorded a gradual recovery. Currently there are 148,000 people in the tourism sector in general, while, specifically in the “hotels” world, registered private employment was almost 15,000 people. As Florencia Busilachi, Entur’s chief of staff, told PROFILE, “within the tourism sector, the hotel industry is an important source of work. And although we consider that it has been recovering well, we understand that we still have an opportunity to continue growing in the near future”.
In the Entur report, the statistics show that of the total national visitors, 33% were tourists from the province of Buenos Aires; It is followed by the coastal region with 22%; Patagonia with 14%; the province of Córdoba with 12%, the northern region with 10% and finally Cuyo, with 9%.
“To continue growing”, Delfino concluded, “we need to have an attractive tourist offer and an air connectivity policy that expands frequencies. Thus, Buenos Aires will continue to have significant hotel growth in the coming years”.
exhibitions and tourism
After a slow start, at the end of 2021, the “meeting tourism” sector managed to reactivate itself and gained momentum in the second half of 2022. For this year, expectations of reactivation are reaffirmed from this segment. Fernando Gorbarán, CEO of Messe Frankfurt Argentina –a specialized organization– declared that “with the return of the exhibitions in 2022 we were able to experience the return to face-to-face meetings and our exhibitions
exceeded 92 thousand visitors”. Gorbarán considered that it was a year of transition. But 2023 and 2024 will be “takeoff”. Among the data confirming the recovery is hotel occupancy in cities where this type of event took place. For example, last August Neuquén had the AOG Patagonia event, which reached 100% hotel occupancy. And he recalled that, until 2020, Buenos Aires was the top location in Latin America in number of congresses. In addition, “meeting tourism” accounted for 60% of the occupancy of 4 and 5 star hotels.
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