Good news for luxury travelers on their way to the land of beef and vino, thanks to new president Mauricio Macri, Argentina hotels just got a tiny bit cheaper.
Macri signed an executive order last September 27, in honor of World Tourism Day, that called for expanded implementation of previous 2001 legislation that offered tourists a refund on Value-Added Tax (VAT) for goods and services purchased in Argentina. VAT in Argentina is higher than almost every one of its southern neighbors, adding an additional 21% to your bill for goods purchased in-country. This new executive order expands that refund to cover the price of hotels when purchased with a foreign-issued credit or debit card, regardless of whether you book on your own or through a third party. The refund is automatic and direct, which mean no lines at the airport — general practice for receiving your VAT refund on goods purchased in the country.
Argentina has a long-established, well-operated, luxury travel industry, with upscale accommodations running the length of the country from Cafayate to Ushuaia and everywhere in between, but according to official data from the U.N.World Tourism Organization, travel to Argentina, despite a bump in 2014, has been dropping in recent years.
This new policy dovetails with President Macri’s dropping the reciprocity fee for U.S. tourists entering in Argentina last August (160.00usd) and the devaluation of the Argentine peso, which Macri’s government has allowed to slowly devalue to the meet the unofficial black market exchange rate (currently about 15/1). The devaluation isn’t great news for Argentines, who suddenly find their money worth less in overall dollar terms, but the Macri government believes that the new changes will encourage some additional 95,000 tourists to visit annually, adding about 70 million dollars to the economy — let’s hope he’s right.
Neighboring countries Chile, Uruguay, Ecuador and Colombia already offer similar policies to encourage tourism so this move is the government’s stab at making the country more attractive to visitors heading south. So dust off your tango shoes and bring your appetite to one of South America’s best (and now cheaper) luxury travel destinations.