The Lure of South America

By | Category: Travel destinations, Travel news

Tajani (left) with President of Chile

Heard of Antonio Tajani? He’s the EU Vice President in charge of – amongst other things – tourism. For the last few months he has been working in a deal to encourage Europeans to visit South America in our summer and for South Americans to visit Europe in our winter. For each it is the off season so it doesn’t interrupt the usual tourism patterns.
At an ETOA conference last week, Tajani explained his project and listed the partners who have signed up so far which are Argentina, Brazil and Chile in South America and France, Italy, Lithuania and Spain in the EU. British Airways is the sole British commercial company involved. The British government was also sent a letter on 15th June asking them to consider joining as well.
Behind this proposal is the desire for more tourism. To repeat the mantra, tourism brings jobs and revenue and is one of the fastest ways – if not the fastest – of bolstering a country’s economy. So initially the idea is to concentrate on culture and off the beaten track destinations that offers sustainable tourism. A laudable aim but not so easily achieved. One of the tours suggested for the UK to consider is a Canterbury to Rome itinerary called the Via Francigena.
The idea is to encourage about 50,000 of us to visit those South American countries in 2013 whilst a similar number come here. As yet no tour operators have signed up, just airlines which see the value of being included. How else are we going to get there other than by plane? And most of the tour operators will use their planes since tour operator planes generally wouldn’t be able to fly that far. Which companies sign up will probably show the success or failure of the scheme From the UK that means TUI, Thomas Cook, Kuoni and the smaller specialist tour operators.
Following on from the promotion by Ecuador, expect in a while to see Argentina, Brazil and Chile beckoning us as well.

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