Argentina looks to repair image and boost tourism

FORT WORTH, TX: InterStar Marketing & PR is launching a campaign to improve Americans' perceptions of Argentina to promote tourism.

FORT WORTH, TX: InterStar Marketing & PR is launching a campaign to improve Americans' perceptions of Argentina to promote tourism.

InterStar will expand its relationship with the Fort Worth-based US-Argentina Chamber of Commerce (CoC). The chamber manages a tourism-promotion contract for Consejo Federal de Inversiones (CFI), or Argentina's Federal Investments Council. CFI is an economic-development organization serving Argentina's 23 provinces and Buenos Aires. The campaign is the result of trade missions this summer between North Texas and Argentina.

D-FW Tours began advertising travel packages to Argentina on American Airlines late this summer, said InterStar president Jane Schlansker, who has served on the CoC's board. The agency's outreach to trade and consumer media will initially target Texas and the Southwest, as well as New York, Atlanta, Miami, and other Eastern cities that feed into American's flight hubs to Argentina. InterStar will also provide internet and trade-show marketing services.

"What we've found is that there is a high awareness of Argentina in Europe, but not necessarily in the US," Schlansker said.

What Americans have seen of Argentina through the media in the past year hasn't been positive, noted Francisco Luis del Carril, CFI's chief of coordination and budget. The country's economic crisis peaked last winter with currency devaluation, public debt default, and rioting. CFI wants Americans to know that Argentina's provinces are safe, beautiful, and affordable.

"At this moment, the relationship between our currency and US currency is very convenient for US tourists," del Carril said. "We hope we will be able to open up the market not only to high-end tourists, but to families and middle-income tourists as well," added Schlansker.

In its initial phase, the campaign will promote tourism to the five Patagonian provinces. Also highlighted will be the Northeastern Misiones province, home to Iguazu Falls and Buenos Aires. The areas were selected because of their infrastructure and attractiveness to visitors, Schlansker said.

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