Argentine Minister of Tourism and Sports Matías Lammen this Wednesday highlighted the management of the pandemic carried out by Alberto Fernández’s government, stressing that “no Argentine has died because they were not treated by the health system” when they did it is well out of the question to open the borders for international tourism at short notice.
In an interview with Europa Press, Lammen lamented that tourism had “without a doubt” been one of the sectors hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic and stressed the importance of having a larger one in a sector where it is possible Having the ability to “forecast” the future creates more than 1 million jobs in the country.
With that in mind, he has welcomed the arrival of vaccines against COVID-19, of which the country already has around 15 million, and he hopes, as he stated, that they will translate into “good expectations”. “It makes us optimistic that we can start planning a return to normal, and in that return, of course, tourism is a vital part of the Argentine economy,” he said.
“Closing the borders is obviously a difficult move for the sector, but it is being taken in this health context and I don’t see that it will change in the short term,” he said, before pointing out that this vaccination allows foreign tourists to travel.
Likewise, and in relation to his official visit to Spain as part of FITUR, he stated that the government had already contacted airlines, operators and investors in Madrid. “We know this day will be a great opportunity for tourism and Argentina will be a world leader. It will have the opportunity to keep growing,” he said.
Lammen lamented that the pandemic had such a negative economic impact around the world: “Like all countries in the world, we have seen a sharp decline in GDP.” For this year, for the last quarter, however, he has forecast an economic recovery.
The Minister has therefore indicated that for the government tourism is a “strategic economic development activity that enables dollars to be raised”, a matter of great relevance. He also stressed that thanks to local tourism, the country can enjoy a “great summer season”.
Looking ahead to the future, Lammen was optimistic and has confirmed that the government already has a plan to boost jobs with a view to reopening tourism in a country where more than 3.3 million infections have been registered and nearly 72,000 people have died . “We believe we can create 200,000 jobs in the next few years,” he said.
In order to achieve this, it is necessary to “work hard on the infrastructure”, for which the authorities already have a plan. “There is an infrastructure plan for every province,” he clarified before pointing out that “nature” destinations will be more relevant because of the opportunity to be outdoors.
The government intends to again give the private sector “conditions” to carry out this plan, although it has admitted that this “is a difficult context because we are thinking of a full health situation”. “Given the vaccination, we are sure that we can get ahead in a short time,” he said.
Turning to the economic forecast, he said he hoped that “the restrictions in the face of a second or third wave”, given the “dynamics” of the pandemic, will not affect growth in Argentina.
The minister has not forgotten the negotiation process with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), led by Minister of Economics Martín Guzmán, stressing that “it is important for the economy to reach an agreement with creditors”. However, it was stressed that “it should be noted that this deal should not add any additional cost or effort to Argentinians who are having a very bad time”.
With regard to the fight against the pandemic, he distinguished two clear phases: the teamwork to prevent the system from becoming saturated and save lives, and the vaccination phase, which “gives a horizon of optimism”. “We are still in the heat of the battle with the virus and management has always striven for the same,” said the goal.
He also praised the unity of the political sphere related to the health crisis, noting that the first phase of the pandemic provides an opportunity “to demonstrate that it is possible to work together on politics without considering differences”.
“Those of us who have political responsibility have to work around the same table and put differences aside. Differences arise in elections when we face each other. Then people vote and then we keep working because Argentina has no room for that kind of Attitude has settled down.