Argentina Says Screw You to Foreign Tourists

Editor’s note – After 6 years of this policy depressing tourism and bringing the number of families visiting down dramatically, the newly elected government of Argentina scrapped this fee in March of 2016. See the full story here. I’m leaving this up as a historical study of a country implementing a policy for emotional reasons rather than business/revenue reasons.

After threatening and then backing off multiple times, the Argentine government has officially kicked itself in the balls by imposing a huge surcharge on visitors wanting to come spend their vacation funds in Argentina. They won’t call it a visa, but if you arrive at the Buenos Aires Airport, you will not be allowed to enter their country without coughing up a significant sum. For Americans it’s $131 per person, for Canadians US$70, for Australians US$100, all according to what the Argentines pay for a real visa from those countries.

They say it’s not a visa, so if it’s not a visa, what is it? I like to call it a “screw you surcharge,” while those running hotels and tourism businesses in the country are calling it a “screw us surcharge.” Either way, a lot of people are now bending over and it’s going to hurt.

This is essentially a way for the government to get back at countries with high visa fees by charging them the same amount to come into their country. Besides the fact that much of the U.S. cost is because of security and background checks and the Argentine one is simply going into someone’s pocket, there’s one major flaw in this approach. Argentina depends on tourism and gets lots of visitors from wealthier countries. The U.S. doesn’t even have a national tourism promotion board. If 100% of Argentines stopped coming to the U.S., Canada, and Britain, it would be a good year or two before the people keeping stats even noticed the blip. It certainly wouldn’t have an impact on the overall economy of any of those nations.

So it may put some money in someone’s coffers in the short term before word gets out, but what about after that? A friend of mine got a nasty surprise upon arrival, as I’m sure many have the past few weeks, and it’s the first thing she tells everyone when they ask about how her trip went. She and her husband had $262 less to spend on the ground than they expected after arrival. Long-term that’s a recipe for disaster. Peru, Uruguay, and Ecuador must have popped the Champagne when this news came out.

For now, there’s one good workaround: enter Argentina overland or via a flight to Mendoza instead of through the capital. The problem is, Chile, Bolivia, and Brazil have similar punitive fees in place (a big reason Argentina has, up until now, been more popular), so flying into any of those instead won’t solve the problem unless you were going to one of them anyway already. That leaves Uruguay as the best bet. If you can find a flight into there for the same or less than one to Argentina, take it and ride the ferry over. Or just avoid Argentina altogether until the tourism industry there cries “Uncle!” and the policy gets reversed. That could be a while though, as Argentina is not known for intelligence in government and the Kirchners have made enough boneheaded moves to fill a book.

To see the kind of reaction this announcement has brought, check out the 100+ comments after the story ran on the Argentine Post or the ones here on the Economist.

Look, I’ll be the first to admit we make it an expensive hassle to visit the U.S., but frankly, it’s just not important enough to our economy for the national government to really care. If the foreign tourism numbers dropped to zero tomorrow, only a few states (like California, New York, Hawaii, Florida, and Nevada) would even notice much of a drop in revenue. The rest rely on domestic travelers. So tit-for-tat moves like this don’t accomplish much, which is why others who have tried it (like Jordan) have ended up scrapping the idea when it became clear it was costing more than it was earning.

What do you think? Are you less likely to visit Argentina now that it’s this much more expensive? What about Bolivia, Chile, or Brazil? If you visited all four of these, it would cost you more than $500 before you even factored in actual travel costs on the ground. Ouch.


Comments
  1. Ian

    Yup. I went to Argentina 2 years ago. At the time I was going to go combine it with Chile. I read about Chile’s fee and changed my plans, I only went to Argentina. So now Argentina is off the list as well.

  2. Maria

    I run a tour company in Buenos Aires and I am afraid this is going to be a big disaster for us. Many visitors I take around say they chose to come to Argentina because it is a better value than Chile or Brazil. This fee will hurt that perception and is a bad way to start your vacation in our country. We will keep trying to get this reversed, but our government doesn’t listen.

  3. Fred

    I think is fair enough! looks like you are not having into account the amount of money that a foreigner have to pay to visit USA, and let me tell you that at least in Argentina, Chile, Brazil you pay those 100USD and you are in, to get a VISA to visit the USA you have to pay, go to an interview and if you are rejected, you never get your money back. I think that is even worst, isn’t?

  4. Rox

    Martin the worse part is that the US visa charge is charged once and it lasts for as long as the visa lasts. Here you have to pay the fee every time you get in which ends up being more costly. If they wanted to impose a visa they should have done it but not disguise it as such when it is only a means of collection. Argentina keeps on shooting itself in its foot

  5. Vanessa

    OMG! I agree that Argentina’s movement was not smart (as always), but the article just says that foreign tourists don’t make any difference to the American economy??? Really? That’s just IGNORANCE. Just “few states” such as California, New York, Hawaii, Florida, and Nevada will miss revenue? Please, tell me how much these “few states” are representative of the American economy. I’m sure it’s not small. It’s a lot more than 5/50 if that’s what you mean by “few states.”
    I do think American tourists should pay as much as foreign tourists pay to go to the US. But I don’t understand why Arentina doesn’t use a visa as Brazil does, for instance.

  6. Pablo

    Rox said: “Here (for Argentina) you have to pay the fee every time you get in”. That’s not true. You pay the fee and it lasts as long as the visa of the country where you are from expires. So, if you are american, the visa is for ten years. That means that when you enter to Argentina you pay the fee only once in ten years. What i dont get is why the person who vrote this articule said that “argentina says screw you to the tourist” when an argentinian has to pay an expensive visa to enter to another countries. (The US visa costs almost 500 pesos, when a middle salary is of 2000!!). Come on!!

    • scott

      hi Pablo just wanted to inform you that the fee is charged everytime you travel through ba.I was in ba in jan and got charged twice once when coming from australia and again when coming back from brazil.i have no problem paying a visa for multiple entries .as is the case with brazil.but do think it is very unfair to charge everytime.culturaly australians hate the sense of being ripped off.argentina is one of my favourites countries in the world and i have been travelling to ba many times .but until the govt changes its policy i will limit my travels to argentina

      • zach

        i don’t know why you paid the fee twice, it is only required once every 10 years. you must have went to the wrong line and the clerk wasn’t kind enough to tell you you didn’t have to pay again.

  7. Isabel

    Official stats say only about 2 million visitors from ALL of South America came to the U.S. last year and that includes business travelers. Argentina is then a fraction of that, so if none of them paid to get a visa for the U.S. it wouldn’t matter much. Germany sends 1.4 million a year and Mexico (legally) sends 4.8 million in contrast.

    http://tinet.ita.doc.gov/view/m-2009-I-001/table3.html

  8. Real Fortin

    I loved my trip to Argentina last year and I have booked one for the spring. I booked it before I knew of the fee and I think I might have reconsidered. Instead of Staying in Buenos Aires and visiting from there, I might stay in Uruguay and spend my money there. Then, I could still do a day trip or two to Buenos Aires if I want.

    • Michael

      Uruguay is awful, dirty, and has none if the culture of Argentina. Not to mention eating out there is about 4 to 5 times more expense over Argentina. I say avoid Uruguay all together – it is just not that exciting and the people I encountered are not that chic or warm.

  9. brian

    I can’t blame countries for the reciprocation fees. If the US charges that much, they are trying to get than money back. Whether it is one-time or a new fee every time you enter the country is a huge difference in terms of return visitors.

  10. Isabela

    The rumor going around in Buenos Aires biz offices is that this is a foreign currency grab to shore up their sagging reserves. A short-term desperation move that they know will backfire in the long run. Related to this crisis: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704375604575023602265075406.html

  11. Wanderluster

    I don’t think this fee would deter me from visiting Argentina, but it certainly doesn’t give me a warm and fuzzy feeling – especially if, as you say, this is just going into someone’s pockets.

  12. kumaruq

    The rates of each country is different, I believe that this year must be altered, but anyway thanks for this informations.

  13. Julian

    I’m really sorry that my country charges so much for a visa, but I think my government completely understands that this is going to mean fewer people come here. (Though judging by how many foreigners I see walking around Manhattan with shopping bags, it doesn’t seem to be irking all that many people.)

    This seems to be a spiteful move by Argentina though that hurts them more than anyone. Hell yes I’ll take that $130 into account when making trip plans. Unless flights to Argentina suddenly go on sale for under $500, I’d rather go elsewhere in Latin America that doesn’t charge so much to spend my money there.

  14. Marcus B.

    They’re insane if they think this isn’t going to make tourists think twice about coming. Check out this thread on the frequent flyer site FlyerTalk. It’s got 261 replies since this announcement.
    http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/argentina/1026434-visa-reciprocity-fee-start-december-20-2009-a.html

  15. Marian

    Yes, it is dull and a pain.
    BUT: I am from a country where we have not been required to ask for US visa since a year and a half ago or so. So I do not need to stand in a line at the embassy and pay, but when I travel to US I still need to register online and wait for a bloody confirmation to be allowed to board my flight. (Lucky me I do not have an Middle Eastern sounding name)
    Then I need to fill several annoying papers during the flight, then in US they take my fingerprints and scan my retina and I need to talk to sometimes very annoyed (and very powerful when it comes to your entry) immigration officer.
    And then I read about the Detroit flight guy.
    So, you know, I do not really believe that the money that is paid by travelers for US visa is justified.
    And do you really think a (likely useless) security check is worth $100? And why it differs for different countries?
    To sum up, there are things non-Americans dislike a lot about traveling to US, so cool down a bit.

    • tim

      Marian, as others have said on here before me, we know it’s a pain to visit the U.S. and most of us are surprised people still come here in the massive numbers that they do. I’m amazed that the planes are just as full coming here from Europe as they are leaving. But in European countries’ case, at least the numbers are relatively mutually beneficial. In Argentina’s case, the outgoing traffic of its own citizens is a minuscule fraction compared to what’s coming in. So it’s suicidal to play these games of “We’ll get you back damn Yankees!” (And Australians, and Canadians, etc.) From a pure business and economic standpoint, it’s idiotic.

  16. shannon

    Just a quick question….Americans…do they have to pay this fee now and how long is it good for.My friend would like to travel between Chile and Argentina over land…do they pay each time?

    Thanks

    • tim

      Shannon – So far it’s air arrivals to B.A. only.

  17. david

    I wish my own country didn’t depend on American tourists so it too could charge a reciprocation fee. All 2nd world countries should charge it in fact. The US seems to have an agenda against countries outside of western Europe and Japan. Argentina is comparable to Spain and Greece in wealth (don’t let their GDPs fool you) and doesn’t have the same visa waiver luxury for a reason. The cost of security is no excuse since they are responsible for needing it in the first place.

  18. Rauna

    I was shocked upon arrival, with no previous warning to find I had to pay. The couple in front of me in the line were only stopping over in BA for one night, on their way to Chile, to see a tango show. After paying the fee the husband commented to the wife, “Well there goes our tango show. Sorry.” It has also caused me to change plans for the groups of about 50 people a year I have taken there for the past several years. So in order to gain 131.00 per person they are loosing, hotel, food, entertainment, transportation etc for 50 people each time that we will no longer come.

  19. Nick Moody

    How long is the tourist Visa good for in general? I am doing an overland trip around South America and plan on flying into Buenos Aires. If I leave Argentina and come back again overland will I have to pay the fee again? Also, do I have to pay the fee to get into other countries like Brazil and Bolivia if I travel there overland? I am a New Zealand resident.

    • tim

      The fee is good for multiple visits, but only for one country. So to visit Brazil, Bolivia, and Argentina you will pay a big entrance fee three different times. Check with your consulate/embassy site on prices. It’s whatever you’re charging them to enter your country.

  20. lila

    The US might have hefty visa charges, but at least once you’re there prices aren’t different just for foreigners. Like a lot of other countries, Argentina is pretty shameless about charging Americans and other extranjeros more for just about everything – not like they can’t get away with it, but it does leave a bitter taste of spitefulness, especially since Argentina’s not all that cheap in the first place. Definitely not tit-for-tat, definitely more in the “screw-you” category.

  21. argentina

    lol@this

  22. Peter Sexton

    The USA charges $131 or such for people who are generally from less prosperous nations to get a visa. So what if these countries reciprocate with a nuisance fee. If you don’t want to pay the fee don’t go or cross the border elsewhere.

    • tim

      That is indeed what is happening Peter. Tourism in Argentina has gone into decline since this policy was announced. It seems to be helping other countries in the region who don’t charge as much. Travelers vote with their wallet all the time, so in the end this will end up helping the government but hurting the companies that pay taxes. In the end, a net loss.

      • errata

        Declining Argentine tourism has nothing to do with the reciprocity fee. Chile has the same sort of fee and has had it for a long, long time, and tourism there continues to increase from countries affected by reciprocity. Tourism has fallen in Argentina for a lot of other reasons, including the impact of 26 percent annual inflation, high crime, and other factors. Reciprocity fees are nothing more than a way of saying what is good for the goose is good for the gander. And it reminds us that Americans are such crybabies when the tables are turned and equalised.

        • Tim Leffel

          Chile got less than 225,000 visitors from the U.S. last year, half what Peru got and about 1/6 of what Costa Rica received. Even fewer went to Brazil. These fees aren’t the only factor, but they make many people decide to go elsewhere instead.

  23. xs

    Ridiculous. Argentina is now the hottest country in the world for tourism. EVERYONE wants to come to Argentina. Why would anyone be deterred by a $100 entry fee when Argentina is the only place in the world where you can have a meal with the best steak and wine in a fancy restaurant for 20 bucks???? And PATAGONIA, IGUAZU, USHUAIA, SALTA, WINERIES, TANGO, BUENOS AIRES flair, where else do you get all that??

    • errata

      This is complete rubbish. International tourism has declined greatly in Argentina in the past two years, not because of reciprocity fees but because the country suffers from high inflation, rising costs, the highest murder rate in Latin America, shortages of many items, and general disarray.

      • Tim Leffel

        May be true except for the murder rate part. Venezuela has the highest in South America, Honduras the highest in Latin America.

  24. Tako

    What Fred, is true:”I think is fair enough! looks like you are not having into account the amount of money that a foreigner have to pay to visit USA, and let me tell you that at least in Argentina, Chile, Brazil you pay those 100USD and you are in, to get a VISA to visit the USA you have to pay, go to an interview and if you are rejected, you never get your money back. I think that is even worst, isn’t?”. And, even if you are in USA in transit, you have to apply for a visa, go to a interview, and pay those us$ 100. I was in Miami airport for two hours, and even so months ago, I had to get a U.S. american visa, pay us$ 100 and go to a interview. That´s the reason because many latinamerican countries now charge us$ 100, only to u.s. american citizens. And if you are latinamerican, you have to pay a kind of “departure tax” when you leave Ezeiza airpot: about us$ 18!

    • tim

      Tako,

      Agreed, the U.S. system is screwy and most of us who are American citizens wish it were different. A non-refundable visa fee is stupid.

      However, most of those U.S. fees go toward security costs to deal with very real threats. In Argentina, the extra charges go in someone’s pocket. It’s simply a reciprocal fee to get back at the yankees. That’s why Argentina is now getting lots more Brazilians, but far fewer Americans—especially families. It’s up to you all to decide whether that is a good thing or not.

  25. George

    peru is a great bargain ! Great best food , ocean, mountains and jungle all wrapped up in one country… And no visa fees !

  26. S. McFarland

    My daughter advised me that visa prices had increased. I doubted her, and after investigating, found it to be true.

    I’ve been to Argentina twice. Loved it, wanted to return. Can’t afford it, because of the fee. This holiday, it’ll be another destination. USA and Argentina, shame on both of you.

  27. Diane

    This comment made me laugh out loud: “Argentina is now the hottest country in the world for tourism. EVERYONE wants to come to Argentina”. What!? You need to travel more! I’ve lived here in Argentina for a few years now, and the costs are ridiculous—I’m referring to hotel costs, travel, etc., in country! Prices are jacked up 4-5 times the norm during the summer (imagine a 1-star hotel—ok, ok, the ARgentine hotel would call it a “3-star”–(rolling my eyes)–that you would normally pay $75/night for going up to $200-300 a night during summer). Even in ‘low season’ their hotel prices are laughable when you judge them by quality. Neither is this nation a service-oriented nation. I completely agree with the author of this article–it’s just another way that Argentina shows that their interest is in jacking the tourist out of money NOW…they really don’t care if you come back. Do yourself a favor, and instead of paying the outrageous airfare to Argentina, pay less in airfare and go to someplace like Thailand–where the service is outstanding, the smiles abound, and the prices are amazing—TRUE 4-5 star hotels for less than a “3-star” (cough, cough) ARgentine hotel. Regarding Chile, I’d a million times rather pay the entrance fee for Chile and go there for vacation–the hotels are at a totally different level (quality, service)–the food is outstanding….the shopping is great, and the prices significantly lower in country than ARgentina. Been there, done that…many times. Does Argentina have amazing potential? Yes. But the Argentine govt or mindset has got to change before it ever truly attains stellar international tour destination status and reputation! ‘buyer beware’.

    • dharmaj

      Diane,

      Right on!! These countries should have looked at or visited Thailand. They propped up their whole economy by promoting tourism. It costs 2/3 less to visit Thailand than Argentina or Chile or Brazil or India and so many other places. Visa is not required, hotels and transportation is top notch and reasonably priced. We are planning to go Brazil, Argentina and Chile and now I find out it is going to cost me extra $500 on top of almost three times for the tour we already paid for – non-refundable. “Caveat Emptor” ! Stay away!

  28. Pete

    Just cross from Uruguay. It gives you a chance to see the Uruguayan countryside and the travel from Uruguay to Argentina is no large sum. You can take a ferry straight from Montevideo or take both a bus and a ferry to make your trip a little bit cheaper. If you really want to travel cheaply from Uruguay to Argentina then take a bus the whole way. It will take you twice as long to get to Buenos Aires from Montevideo but it will also cost you twice as less. The buses are very comfortable and there are overnight trips that allow you to sleep most of the time. I really don’t see how complaining is going to change anything. Use your brain and turn problems into solutions.

    • tim

      Pete, I agree that’s a good solution, but flights to Uruguay are routinely several hundred dollars more than ones to Buenos Aires. So that negates the savings. It’s only going to work if you’re coming overland or flying within South America and can lessen the airfare gap. It would probably be cheaper to fly to Santiago and bus over the mountains to Mendoza. But Chile socks you with a reciprocal fee too, so that’s only useful if you’re going there anyway.

  29. Moto

    Wait. This article is completely WRONG on one thing. Tourism is the USA’s number one source of foreign capital. NUMBER ONE. Saying that foreign tourism isn’t important just shows that this author is just making things up rather than doing research.

    The USA has been shooting itself in the foot with it’s STUPID visa requirements for decades. Stop whining when someone gets STUPID back at you.

    • tim

      Moto—you’re wrong. Oil is by far. Last article I saw, tourism wasn’t even in the top 5, well behind pharma, autos, software, etc. If you’re going to shout at me in all caps, please back up your assertion with a link to a news source.

      • Matthew B.

        The way it’s categorized by the government, it’s #6 at best, with “Arts, entertainment, recreation, and food service” bringing in 3.6% of the GDP. It pales next to finance/insurance/real estate at 20% and professional/business services at 12%. It’s lower than construction (even after the housing bubble pop), education, and IT. Most people can probably guess that Apple is bringing in more cash than Disney theme parks.

  30. Matt

    OK. So I went nearly two years ago and paid the $100 at Ezeiza airport. They tell you you get 10 years of re-entry for this fee. They staple a paper in the back of your passport. Now that paper is lost! I want to go back this year… are they going to charge me again??

  31. ramonn

    They should fix all the loopholes. No matter where an american citizen turned up from in Argentina (Mendoza, swam across from Uruguay, Paraguay, Yourmotheruay,-ANYWHERE-)THEY SHOULD PAY THE ENTRY FREE. Everybody here crying bloody murder over having to do way less, (simply paying the VERY SAME FEE American officials charge Argentinian nationals for the very same privilage to enter the USA. Americans are not made to stand in line at some freaking consulate and wait for hours, to tell some idiot from New Jersey, sorry an american consulate offical, their live story, with papers to prove it, and to put a bow on the wholse, PAY the fee – whatever the outcome-, which by the way happens to be nonrefundable.
    The nerve of the typical american is out of control. Pay up, or stay the hell home. ARRIBA ARGENTINA !!

    • tim

      Agree with you that it’s grossly unfair to pay a visa application fee that’s not returnable if you get turned down. The problem is, despite all the barriers we put up (which I’m not in favor of), millions of people try to emigrate to the U.S. each year, a good number of them illegally. I doubt that’s happening much anymore in Argentina, even on a small scale. Travel is a global market, so if you charge people more than your neighbors do, they’ll go there instead. You see this now in Argentina’s visitor numbers compared to say, Peru. They’re up, but mostly because of Brazilians coming over to take advantage of cheaper prices. The number of Americans (who spend more on average), especially families, is down since this policy went into effect.

  32. Chris

    Just arrived in Buenos Aires on Saturday. I’ve been here 4 times already but had not been here since 2007. I had no idea about this new fee, I could not believe it. Im here with my wife celebrating our 1 year anniversary and all this fee did was leave me with $320 less ($160 per person now) spending money.

    If I knew about this fee ahead of time I would had reconsidered about coming here. Only because I see no need for it other than spite. I was talking to my cab driver who drove me from the airport and he told me tourism is down a lot in the last year or so.

    For a family of four going to Argentina as of today would cost an additional $640 for the family. While Argentina is cool and I love BS AS I would completely avoid paying this dumb fee. I was asked by my co-workers about coming here on their vacation now I’ll just warn them about this extreme extra cost and let them decide.

  33. ramonn

    The olympics will be coming around again in a few years, and each and every one of you in the states who’d like to come visit, can start getting ready your $140.00 dollars per person (it it’s still that much by then) to do the -very same thing- it cost absolutely not a penny to a UK national. Anybody interested in finding out how the UK funds its own background checks -not a penny to brazilians or argentinians, but cost 140 bucks here in the states ? Instead of directing your retarded arguments to the countries that have the balls to stand up for their ciitizens rights, and the things that happen to their wallets when they decide to visit the USA, you might want to send a little note to your members of congress, and have them re-think those adorable fees they impose on countries out of the visa waiver program (basically countries with not that many white folks in them) because those countries are making YOU pay those “reciprocity” fees you don’t sound too happy about. Not quite sure is Argentina or Brazil shooting itself in the foot with the- you do it to me, and I’m more than happy to do it right back to you- fee.

    • Tim Leffel

      The proof is in the visitor numbers. It’s a self-destructive move. For the U.S. though, if fewer Argentines come it’s a rounding error. It’s a punishment tax on your own tourism industry, not on Americans. They’ll just go elsewhere for their family vacation, like Peru or Ecuador.

  34. Mr. P. Bello

    They have the right to use a reciprocity fee, SIMPLE! The Uk and the rest of Europe don’t have to pay anything to enter either Argentinia or Brazil. Brazilians are the nationals that most spend in Florida, New York and California translating to creating jobs. The Uk and Europe welcome Argentinians & Brazilians without any fee!

    • Tim Leffel

      You just proved my point Mr. Bello. Brazilians (and Argentines) will come to the U.S. regardless of our visa policies. Along with most other nationalities. The same is not true going the other direction. So it hurts the tourism industries in your own countries, not the one you’re trying to punish. The highest-spending tourists go elsewhere instead, like Peru or Ecuador. I’m not saying I agree with our visa/immigration policies, but there are better ways to influence that than taking it out on your own tourism industry with a reciprocal fee not grounded in any security or immigration justification. It’s purely tit-for-tat.

  35. Matthew B.

    I’ve been looking into taking my family to the Olympics when it’s in Rio. I was already put off by the way overpriced hotels ($300 a night for a 3-star hotel, in South America?!), but it’s the visa fees that are probably going to keep us from going. I can afford it, but I really can’t justify spending that kind of money just to enter the country. There’s zero risk of us staying there to live and work as there is with so many visitors to the U.S., so it seems like a complete money grab by the government. From what I hear about the crime rate there, perhaps it’s for the best. I don’t think they’re going to be ready for the games without turning the place into a police state.

    • Pierre

      Im moving to Brazil next year !!! Im from Texas – Big Boom in South America now

  36. Maya McQueen

    I hate this Reciprocity fee, it is the stupidest thing ever and totally unattractive for tourists. I was not allowed on my flight to Buenos Aires to Sao Paulo because I could not get the web site to complete the process. The internet int he airport was super slow and the connection timed out each time. I was not allowed to borad and the entire thing cost me $500 dollars. It is a total turn off. Why can’t visitors pay when they arrive at the airport. This is so lame. I do not recommend a holiday in Argentina to anyone, absolutely idiotic organization.

  37. Mols

    I just visited a few countries in Asia but I found the Philippine government has imposed a decade+ -long hotel surcharge of 22.5%!

    This means that even before you check into your hotel, your pocket has already been picked of 25 cents for every US dollar of your traavel budget. I can’t see any economic, social or security justification whatsoever for this horrendous charge. The irony is this: while visiting the otherwise beautiful country and its wonderful people, I read in the papers that the government has been moaning why the nation suffers from a dismal number of foreign tourists vs its neighbors. Well, I – and a lot of disappointed tourists and their friends – now know why.

    • dlh

      Did not realize that. Was in PI during Vietnam war and always wanted to go back. Not if that is representative of visitor taxes. Another example of gouge the rich American. Thankyou for the heads up.

  38. Pierre

    Argentina Does not Live from Tourism, I’ve lived there 5 years.
    They live from exporting goods, Meat, Soy and soccer. I had a great time there, 5 years ! honestly I want to retire in the Patagonia – Worlds most outstanding place! I’ve lived in Europe, Dubai, Cancun Etc etc and the Argentine Wine, Meat and Woman are totally worth going there over and over again!!!!!

  39. Scott

    Yep, that’s exactly what they’re saying – screw you, we don’t need tourists here. Same for Brazil with their Visa requirement, which serves no purpose other than payback for us requiring a Visa for them to come here. The reason all this is stupid is that they have every reason to come here and work illegally, given the huge wage disparity, while we have no reason to go there and do so. But they want to ignore this and act like they’re equal.
    I say to them, screw you, you’re not equal so don’t demand equal treatment. And by the way I’m staying home this winter and spend my money here instead of in your country. So way to go.

    • Tim Leffel

      Well, they’ve changed this policy now, so it’s looking more welcoming and tourist numbers are rising again.

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