The national government evaluates promoting the Program Pre-Trip as a long-term public policy to promote tourism until 2025.
The program to promote domestic tourism – which had more than 4.5 million users in the last edition – would not have the same format as it has up to now. The idea is to focus it to shore up the months of low season in May, September and October for emerging destinations, it was reported to THE NATION from the Ministry of Tourism and Sports that heads Matthias Lammens.
In other words, it can no longer be used in high season or in high-traffic destinations, as has happened until now, which had no restrictions to apply to the benefit of the 50 percent reimbursement of expenses.
Lammens said that it works in a “Focused Pre-Trip, in low season with emerging destinations, a bit surgical, for the months of May, September and October that are complex for the activity”.
In March, it will present a bill to Congress that will include different proposals to support tourism activity: for example, tax exemptions, a tax bonus for investments and the establishment of Pre-Trip as a public policy for 2025.
“We have the strategic vision that tourism is very important for the country’s development, that’s why we invested a lot and created this program that was the star of the season,” Lammens said on Radio Provincia.
The minister faced strong criticism from economists and users for the past few days for the program that in its first edition, last year, benefited 600,000 people and that this season is estimated to exceed 5 million users who traveled with credit card refunds. credits of up to 50 percent of your purchases with a limit of one hundred thousand pesos, for each beneficiary. Even for retirees affiliated with PAMI, the credit to spend again on tourism amounts to 70 percent of the purchase of purchased trips.
The second edition of the program captured billing more than 100,000 million. Last year 10,000 million were loaded. Most of the people who used the benefit live in the provinces of Buenos Aires, Santa Fe, Córdoba, and the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires. Meanwhile, the beneficiaries of the movement between provinces are Salta, Río Negro, Neuquén, Santa Cruz, and Tierra del Fuego.
The program to reactivate the transport, hotel and tourist services sectors hit hard by the pandemic sparked controversy among users and economists.
In January, a sector of users complained about the absence of accreditation of the benefit to spend them at the destination. Meanwhile, economists opposed to the government warned that the State investment involved in reactivating Tourism was to the detriment of other activities in the economy.
But for some economists, the financing of this public policy “is paid for by the poor.” The former president of the Central Bank Federico Sturzenegger, for example, considered that the immense approval of the tourism sector operators does not mean that economically and socially it is not nonsense. And he illustrated: “If you spend 1,000 on Pre-trip, that generates a positive multiplier effect. But someone had to put up 1,000 that couldn’t be spent on anything else.” According to the economist, this state investment generates an “equivalent negative chain”. “What you put in on one side, you take out on the other,” he considered.
The Minister of Tourism – who a week ago clashed harshly with a teacher who criticized the program and personally criticized the official – said: “Some for a political or personal issue end up attacking a successful program from every point of view.”
Among the referents of the sector consulted by THE NATION, the majority was in favor of sustaining the program. “I think it is a great success. It has already been shown that the pre-trip worked and generated a great movement of national tourism. And if this can be transferred to the months with less movement, it will surely work in the same way, especially in destinations that are consolidating”, said Juan Manuel Peralta Secretary of Tourism of Trevelin.
“It seems to me a success. It helped a lot. It moved the national market a lot,” said Jorge Fleming, manager of Hacienda Molinos, in Salta.
“A pre-trip for the low season would be the solution expected many years ago to break the seasonality of the NOA. Every year all kinds of promotions were made and despite the great effort that each one puts in, sometimes the costs are covered,” said Diego Patrón Costas, manager of La Merced del Alto, in Cachi.
“In this current situation where going abroad is increasingly difficult, a relaunch of the pre-trip will undoubtedly generate a lot of interest in the NOA, which in the low season has excellent weather and services are the same as the rest of the year” , said Patron Costas, who is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Association of Tourism Hotels of the Argentine Republic.
Other borrowers were not in favor of continuing with a policy given the mass of tourists who arrived at destinations considered emerging until now: “There are destinations like El Bolsón that are collapsed. Measures will have to be taken because destiny can be ruined. It is no longer an emerging destination”, he informed THE NATION a tourist provider of that village located in Río Negro.
The controversy will continue in the National Congress where the government will send the bill to reactivate the sector. Meanwhile, more than 5 million users have credit to spend on accommodation, travel agency, transportation, excursions, car rental, gastronomy, entertainment.