MONTEVIDEO –Uruguay received nearly 3.33 million foreign tourists in 2016, a 12.3 percent rise on 2015 and an all-time record, the government announced on Monday.
This level of visits, which is close to the population of the country, generated USD1.824 billion, according to Ministry of Tourism data.
“2016 has been one of the best years in the history of tourism since records began,” said Minister of Tourism Liliam Kechichian in an interview with local radio station Sarandi.
For the minister, the rise was due to various factors, including controlled inflation, an appreciating US dollar and the return of IVA on all tourism-related purchases.
The largest source of tourists was Argentina, which saw about 2.14 million of its citizens visit its smaller neighbor, of an annual rise of 25.4 percent.
Uruguay’s capital, Montevideo, close to Buenos Aires, received 41 percent of the expenditure on tourism last year.
This rise looks set to continue. Kechichian said that, in the first 10 days of January 2017, the number of tourists rose by 24.5 percent on the same period in 2016.
So far this year, arrivals from Argentina have risen 26 percent, from Brazil 30 percent and from Chile 49 percent.
In 2015, tourism accounted for 7.7 percent of national GDP.