The tourism situation in Iguazu is becoming unsustainable. Mobility restrictions resulting from the COVID-19 health crisis are still present, which has reduced the number of visits to the region to a minimum. The result? The estimated 11,000 people living from this sector in the region are either unemployed or on a minimal income.
Tourism figures in IguazúSomemonths
ago, the Government of the Republic of Argentina announced that domestic flights would resume in the territory of Iguazú as well as in the rest of the country on September 1st. However, the executive has reversed its decision due to the seriousness of the coronavirus health crisis.
This, in the words of the president of the Iguazú Gastronomic and Related Hotel Association (AHGAI), Santiago Lucenti, is dramatic for workers and businesspeople in the sector. It is estimated that, at present, they are barely receiving 30 percent of their salaries, in the best of cases. 5 months have passed since the territory of Iguazú stopped receiving international visitors and those from other parts of the country. This is a crisis of unprecedented gravity.
The only resources that workers in the sector have are the PTAs. Lucenti also complains that, in most cases, they are not reaching those affected and that, when they do, they barely provide them with 16,800 pesos a month, a figure that does not even cover expenses.the president of the AHGAI also calls for greater efforts from the Government of the Republic and more flexibility from the financial institutions. Just as in recent years there have been major changes in banking related to gambling and similar sectors, he believes it is possible to make adjustments that will save the sector for the future. Especially with regard to hotels and hotel establishments.
A situation aggravated by expectationsIt must be taken into account that many of the hotels and restaurants in Iguazú, with the announcement of the return of domestic flights, made a significant investment in order to reopen their doors.
The executive's backward step has therefore had an even greater impact on the economy of these companies, which have gone into debt or squandered part of their accumulated resources for nothing. It is not only the borders that are closed. The park has not opened its doors either, so the few remaining tourists do not find there any attraction that calls their attention. In short, the situation in Iguazú is difficult, but there are reasons for hope.
It is to be expected that when the health crisis is brought under control, whether by lower virus mortality, herd immunity or the arrival of a safe and effective vaccine, tourism will once again flourish in the region. It certainly needs its main economic engine to work again.