Argentina’s financial challenges spur negative travel trends and a real slump in demand

Travel bookings in Argentina plummeted after the country’s currency crashed during May-2018, according to a recent report by intelligence specialists ForwardKeys.


Summary:

  • Travel demand in and out of Argentina slumped in May-2018 as the Latin American country’s currency crashed and lost a quarter of its value;
  • A recent study from intelligence provider ForwardKeys shows bookings from Argentina to other Latin markets (the country’s largest region for outbound travel) fell 26.1% year-on-year last month;
  • Its analysis highlights the sudden decline: total international outbound bookings from Argentina dropped 20.4% during May-2018 after growing 8.4% year-on-year from Jan-2018 to Apr-2018;
  • Although generally a weak currency causes an increase in travels, this time travellers seem worried about Argentina’s current economic difficulties with a general feeling of unrest among a number of Latin American economies.

The company, which predicts future travel trends by analysing 17 million booking transactions per day, says that based on its analysis, bookings from Argentina to other Latin markets (the country’s largest region for outbound travel) fell 26.1% year-on-year in May-2018. Total international outbound bookings from Argentina dropped 20.4% during May-2018 after growing 8.4% year-on-year from Jan-2018 to Apr-2018.

In May-2018 the Argentine Peso fell to a record low despite the government’s efforts to protect the currency losing around a quarter of its value. Argentina’s president asked the IMF for a bailout the same month. An agreement was reached earlier this month with the second largest IMF credit ever in terms of cash value and although this has brought stability the impact the consequences of the crash are clearly noticeable.

Although generally a weak currency causes an increase in travels, this time travellers seem worried about Argentina’s current economic difficulties. The ForwardKeys data shows bookings made in May-2018 were down by nearly 14%, compared to those made in May last year.

“Not only Argentina, but all Latin American countries struggle,” says the company. “Social unrest in Nicaragua, disrupting volcanoes in Guatemala and Caribbean islands recovering from recent hurricanes (Harvey, Irma, and Maria in August and September of last year) make that travel to the entire region is down. Chile and Cuba have been hit by the decrease of Argentinian travellers.”

The Spanish company’s research shows outbound bookings to Chile posted the largest decline, dropping 50.6% year-on-year in May-2018, followed by Cuba at 43.2%. Paraguay topped the list for declines in bookings to Argentina for Latin America travellers with a 31.6% decline followed by Brazil’s decrease of 20.5%.

ForwardKeys warned Argentina’s challenges with attracting travellers are continuing, with bookings for arrivals projected to fall by 4.9% from Jun-2018 to Aug-2018, with bookings from Brazil falling 9%.

Bookings for Latin America and the Caribbean as a whole are down 2% year-on-year from Jun-2018 through Aug-2018. ForwardKeys CEO Olivier Jager observed that Argentina has suffered a “very severe reversal of fortune… normally a fall in a country’s currency will lead to a surge in bookings as the destination becomes tangibly better value for international visitors. However, a severe decline which is triggered by a domestic economic and political crisis, can actually have the opposite effect and put off visitors, at least in the short term”.