Argentina´s Future: Malbec, Macri, And Moet Hennessy (Inglés)

There is a cynical joke in Argentina that goes something like this: God gave Argentina vast acres of fertile land where crops grow and cattle graze and horses roam, and He gave Argentina oil and minerals to fuel their potential. And when He had finished, God worried that perhaps he had put a bit too much goodness into this country…and so, he created the Argentine people.

If you look back at the country’s recent leadership history, you might find this joke more descriptive than funny: since World War II, with populist leader Juan Peron and his rock-star wife Evita, to military rule to fledgling democracy to the unpredictable Menem and then 12 years of the husband and wife economic voodoo of the Kircheners (which spawned the largest government default in history), Argentina has been subjected to corruption and almost continual isolation by inward-looking governments, missing out on most of the progress in the northern hemisphere. Agriculture such as soybeans and natural resources such as oil and gas have been – and still are - the export staples for decades.

“For the last 12 years, we suffered a lot, one businessman who wished to remain nameless told me in an interview for this blog. “The government statistics were totally off base, they insulted people’s intelligence. In reality, inflation was more than 30% a year. We were dealing with a fake cost of goods, fake prices, high taxes, currency restrictions…it was like living in an alternate universe paid for by soy beans.”

Malbec & Macri

Today this is changing as two forces in Argentina have coincided: the rise of the wine-based hospitality sector - creating international attention and business - and the election as President in 2015 of businessman and popular football team owner Mauricio Macri – son of a successful immigrant Italian industrialist.

In an early post-election blitz, Macri managed to settle Argentina’s stand-off with recalcitrant bond holders over the country’s default, depreciated the Peso (thereby putting an end to the black market, though significantly depreciating purchasing power), removed export controls, and restored normal pricing. Businesses responded positively. Consumers – weaned off the Kirchener economic price subsidies - did not. A lot of Macri’s ability to realize his goals for the country’s economic revival rests on the country’s regional elections in the autumn.

Meanwhile, the new government is moving to take advantage of Argentina’s natural wonders – mountains, dramatic scenery, wines and food – to shape a tourism industry that should thrive, supported by an exchange rate attractive to foreign tourists.

“Tourism is crucial for Argentina’s economic development, generating direct and indirect employment,” Tourism Minister Gustavo Santos told me in an email exchange for this blog.

Minister Santos points to the new Argentine “brand” -#ArgentinaWorldFriendly – created to “attract 9 million international tourists to Argentina by the end of 2019, and to be a reference for excellence in Latin America,” he says. Part of that effort is a new VAT refund scheme on accommodations, which exempts foreign tourists paying with a foreign credit card from the country’s 20% hotel tax. Santos expects this plan alone to attract 95,000 new tourists per year, generating $70 million and some 8,000 new jobs. He adds, “ We want Argentina to become a hugely attractive tourist brand…Our wine and gastronomy are very important aspects of this.”

Fuente:Shellie Karabell  -  https://www.forbes.com/sites/shelliekarabell/2017/05/21/argentinas-future-malbec-macri-and-moet-henessy/#3f51156f29c2