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Argentina limits travel abroad due to shortage of dollars and collapse of Central Bank reserves

The Central Bank of Argentina restricted as of this Friday the financing of the purchase of air tickets to other countries and tourist services abroad through credit cards, a measure that is added to others aimed at avoiding a further fall in monetary reserves and that it has been repudiated by travel agencies and airlines.

The resolution taken by the Central Bank prohibits the possibility that purchases with credit cards of air tickets and tourist services abroad be made in installments, a measure that in practice discourages travel abroad since many do not have the possibility of make that expense in a single card or cash payment.

The provision establishes that “financial and non-financial institutions that issue credit cards should not finance purchases made using their customers’ credit cards in installments”Of tickets abroad and other tourist services abroad, such as accommodation or car rental, either carried out directly or through a travel agency or web platforms.

The measure, which surprised the tourism sector, has been in force since Friday, when many travel agencies, airlines and platforms for the sale of tickets and tourist packages were preparing to launch strong offers within the framework of the “Black friday”, A day of online promotions that many consumers take advantage of to purchase services for the next summer holidays in Argentina.

lack of dollars

Beyond this circumstance, the resolution adopted by the Central Bank joins other measures that restrict or discourage access to US dollars by citizens and companies, whether for savings, travel, imports or cancellation of doubts and money transfers to the Exterior.

These restrictions seek to contain the outflow of monetary reserves from the Central Bank.

According to data from the monetary authority, the Central Bank’s international reserves closed this Thursday at US $ 42,237 million, but private consultants estimate that net reserves are actually around US $ 4.4 billion and liquid reserves are close to US $ 700 million. , limiting the entity’s possibilities to intervene in the official exchange market in order to sustain the exchange rate.

The outflow of foreign currency from Argentina through travel abroad was in 2019, before the outbreak of the pandemic, of US $ 4,585 million, according to data from the National Institute of Statistics and Censuses.

Business rejection

In a statement, the Argentine Federation of Associations of Travel and Tourism Companies repudiated the new regulation that, it warned, “directly impacts” on the sector, “hitting the smaller agencies especially”.

The entity, which represents about 5,000 travel agencies, asserted that the measure “untimely and unprecedented” It constitutes “an attack on travel consumers and businesses, the vast majority of which are small and medium-sized companies that have not yet been able to recover from the economic consequences”Of the pandemic.

For its part, the Chamber of Air Lines in Argentina (Jurca) stated in a statement its “bewilderment, concern and repudiation”By the measure of the Central Bank.

If there is no emissive passenger, the equation does not work only with receptive. An operation is simply not sustained where there is not a certain balance between them. If there was an intention to attract tourism or improve connectivity to attract foreign currency, this is certainly not the way”, Said Felipe Baravalle, executive director of Jurca, a chamber that brings together more than twenty foreign airlines operating in Argentina.


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