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Light traffic and a half-empty town: that’s the panorama of Mar del Plata, the main summer destination for Argentines. With 211% annual inflation and a sharp decrease in wages, the season is “lost” for businessmen and a “sorrow” for tourists. “On vacation, one should be calm, and have fun. Love costs everything, but I don’t need to do the math,” said Julián Groppo, a 26-year-old architect who spends his summer in this city ​​on the Atlantic coast 400 km south of Buenos Aires in ten years. This year the Argentine peso lost so much that Groppo had to reduce his annual vacation from 15 days to five and now spends half his time going from one store to another to find food at a better price. “The truth is that it saddens me,” the architect complained about his truncated holidays in the nicknamed “Happy City”.

For almost 80 years, Mar del Plata usually receives six times more tourists than its 650,000 inhabitants between Christmas and February. But this summer the occupancy is almost 60% in the first half of January, according to the Hotel and Gastronomic Business Association (AEHG) in the spa city. In the bus terminal, of the 42 platforms, only three are occupied by a long distance. transportation. Outside, a line of taxis waiting for passengers meanders down the street and some drivers chat about the small influx of tourists. One of them, Daniel Molina, recalled that “last year, he made at least 30 trips a day.” luckily I got to 15,” he said, pointing to the clear road. “It’s a lost season. See what it is now: Dead! “- “It’s another country” – Argentines suffered inflation of 12% in November and 25% in December, for a total of 211% year-on-year, the largest since June 1991. coup de grace was a devaluation of the peso of more than 50% in mid-December, in the first days of the government of President Javier Milei, which increased inflation and contracted salaries by 20%, according to a report. from the Central Workers of Argentina.

And this increase in prices coincides with the holiday season in the southern cone. Now, in a country where the minimum wage is 156,000 pesos (about 179 dollars, at the official exchange rate), only The round – A bus trip ticket from Buenos Aires costs 80,000 pesos ($92), a night for two in a mid-range hotel is about 50,000 pesos ($57) and a dinner at a restaurant costs 13,000 pesos ($14) per person. As a result, entrepreneurs like José María Mendiola only have half of the tents they rent occupied by the spa they manage. it’s different,” he commented. For real estate agent Valeria Pratto, the outlook is even worse: “Compared to last year, I didn’t rent even a quarter of it.” and a lot of sand -But one of lime, and a lot of sand: tourists take advantage of the unprecedented space available on the beach and build small soccer fields or paddle ball fields, something that would be impossible to achieve in other full seasons of tourists roasting in the sun.

Luciano Rodrigo, a specialist in racing horses, said: “When there are many people you pass here and the music from all the speakers mixes.” Today, however, you can hear the strong wind that slows down the walk, characteristic of the coast of Argentina. In the air of Mar del Plata, the smell of saltpeter and cooked corn combine, a classic snack of the beaches of Argentina. On the other side of the rope that divides the private spas from the public beach, street vendors travel the beach from end to end offering balls, clothes, glasses, or toys. Guido Salvatierra, 35, sells corn on the cob ( cobs) boiled and served with butter, oil, or mayonnaise for 3,000 pesos ($3.4) “Last year a family bought corn for everyone,” he said. “Now they share it.”

World Nation News Desk
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