In the last days of 2022, 245,675 visitors entered Uruguay according to the latest report prepared by the Department of Statistics of the National Directorate of Migration. Of these, 93,634 (38%) were Argentine, which makes it clear that beyond the exchange disadvantage they again chose the country to vacation.
And reinforcing these data, the Ministry of Tourism reported that on the first of January the number of Argentines in Uruguay had already climbed to 105,157.
Within Uruguay, Punta del Este continues to position itself as one of the favorite destinations for Argentines: “The city is beautiful, we are very fond of it,” said the secretary of the Association of Argentine Owners in Uruguay (APAU), Alfredo Girelli.
However, in an interview with Coffee & Business stressed that this season in the APAU they received comments from Argentines about “unjustified ill-treatment” by some Uruguayans.
Girelli pointed out that it is of order not to generalize this situation to all Uruguayans, but “if I said that they do not happen, I would be lying.” By the way, he told specific cases in this regard, one of them that he himself starred in: “A week ago I was with the car in Maldonado, and a lady on a motorbike passes by who sees my license plate and yells at me, a fucking porteño.“, he recalled.
In this sense, he affirmed that the complaints that reach APAU are more than anything from situations like the ones he experienced, which “simply for having an Argentine patent” they insulted him.
In the interview, Girelli recalled what the Uruguayan humorist, Sebastián Almada, said on the television program Intractable: “Argentines love us Uruguayans very much, they respect us. It is not mutual,” he said. Then he added that The Uruguayan does not love the Argentine so much.
“These are things that are not understood, because many times they are gratuitous insults”affirmed the APAU secretary about the situations that generated the complaints of the Argentines.
Asked if this type of situation can harm Argentine tourism in Uruguay, Girelli said that he does not believe: “It hurts, but I don’t think so. The Argentine who chooses Uruguay, and continues to go in times of crisis, is because he loves the place”he pointed.
In the same vein, from APAU they pointed out that these unjustified deals could be resolved “if the mayor’s office gave instructions to the population regarding the treatment of tourists. Especially with the Argentine, who is the main customer.”
Maldonado City Hall
Regarding other complaints received by the association, Girelli mentioned the increase in the contribution, that this year is 20% in dollars and the cost of common building expenses.
“That does hurt the Argentine, who likes it and pays for it with sacrifice”he concluded.
Finally, from APAU, they recommended improving garbage management and pointed out that they are surprised that waste is not separated.
Another complaint from foreign tourists: the electronic toll
On December 30, the Punta del Este Promotion and Tourism League informed The Observer that visitors claimed to be paying for tolls that they do not use. It is that, in the new operation in force since mid-2022, through the Tourist Pass, the passage through the tolls of visitors arriving in Uruguay is controlled by reading their license plate, and payment is made later at the collection networks, and —although currently the value of the toll is $122.5 if you go through the electronic toll booth and $160 in cash—, “When they go to pay in the collection networks, they are told that the minimum is $1,540, according to the president of the Santiago Osácar League.
That amount was discounted as more electronic tolls are used, but the reality is that most of the visitors did not get to spend the entire amount.
Then, after the claims of the visitors —mainly Argentines— the Punta del Este Promotion and Tourism League, raised the issue to the authorities to the Ministry of Tourism, which finally resolved lower the minimum payment for the Tourist Pass from $1,540 to $540.