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IDB Approves $33 Million Loan to Promote Nature Tourism in Argentina

The funds will boost the supply and demand of domestic and international tourism and strengthen the country brand.

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has approved a $33 million loan to foster nature tourism in Argentina aimed at promoting a post-pandemic economic recovery, given the potential of this sector in line with visitors’ changing preferences.

The program will finance investments in tourism amenities for seven priority nature routes: the Puna, Valleys, Gorges, and Yungas Route; the End of the World Route, the Missionary Forest Route; the Coastline and Great Rivers Route; the Atlantic Coast Plains Route; the Patagonian Sea Route; and the High Andes Route.

The funds will be used to improve existing trails and open new ones, as well as to build and upgrade bike paths, bridges, viewpoints, shelters, and camping sites. The works will be carried out taking into account sustainability and climate adaptation and mitigation criteria and encouraging the use of ecological building materials and renewable energy.

Tourism in Argentina plunged in 2019 and 2020 due to sanitary restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, with declines of 70 percent in incoming tourism and 61 percent in domestic tourism. Before the pandemic, international tourism revenues had been on the rise, increasing by 27 percent between 2009 and 2019.

This program is expected to help raise spending on nature tourism from a total of $1.41 billion to $1.46 billion by 2027.

It will also finance actions to boost Argentina’s country brand associated with its nature routes at the national and international levels. Activities to promote tourism internationally will include designing and implementing an online platform; supporting events, business rounds, and national and international fairs; and launching a strategy for communications and promotional materials.

In addition, grants will be made available to tourism-related ventures and companies within the identified routes, including cooperatives, producer associations, and micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs). Thirty-five percent of the financing will be earmarked for women-led companies. The program is expected to directly benefit 60,385 tourism-sector employees and 27,492 tourism ventures, while the number of MSMEs serving the sector is forecast to grow from 27,492 to more than 31,000.

The resources will also strengthen tourism and socio-environmental governance of the nature routes through assistance and training to improve territorial management and productive development; promotion of private investment opportunities; assistance to local and provincial governments to maintain the public infrastructure financed by the program; and studies aimed at reducing the carbon footprint.

The executing agency for the project will be Argentina’s National Tourism and Sports Ministry. The loan is for a 25-year term, with a 5.5-year grace period, and will be disbursed over five years.

About the IDB

The Inter-American Development Bank is devoted to improving lives. Established in 1959, the IDB is a leading source of long-term financing for economic, social, and institutional development in Latin America and the Caribbean. The IDB also conducts cutting-edge research and provides policy advice, technical assistance, and training to public and private sector clients throughout the region.