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Infobrand | 2004-01-14 Infobrand

Homemade Tourism

When speaking of welcoming foreigners, Argentina has become a real enthusiast for the last two years. New trends are towards small comprehensive tourism undertakings offering whatever the customers might need during their stay in the country. Alojargentina and Buenos Aires Rent _two companies devoted to this kind of services_ spoke with Infobrand.
The post-devaluation period saw Argentina turned into an economical and appealing country for travelers. For the last two years, the country has, therefore, specialized in everything related to tourism services. Thus, comprehensive companies focused on providing the customer with a customized tourism packages have emerged.
Both Alojargentina and Buenos Aires Rent have been set up approximately five years ago. Even if the original idea was solely offering equipped flats, with time, both companies have added hotels, apart hotels, family houses and university residences options.
They have also embraced other alternatives such as: cellular phone and car rental, tango and Spanish lessons, tourism packages and tours around Argentina. In addition, they offer tourism information on Buenos Aires, along with a city guide, city tours and guided tours. They even supply useful data, as Buenos Aires’ weather, exchange rates, existent means of transportation and maps and more.
According to Alberto Cerebrisky, President of Buenos Aires Rent, the project began among friends. “We wanted to make profitable certain properties owned by acquaintances and, by creating a company, we found the perfect solution to this”, said the director.
For her part, Alda Laura Miccolis, Executive Director of Alojargentina, commented: “I began by myself, with my daughters. As time went by, people started recommending us and the company added other services”. She pointed out: “we are a comprehensive travel and tourism company. Our objective is guiding the customers to find everything they look for in Argentina. We accommodate foreigners in equipped flats, but also design recreational activities”.
With respect to the new accommodation options specifically, both companies’ representatives revealed the secret of success: Laura Miccolis stated that the freedom tenants enjoy by having a place to _among other things_ invite whoever they want, make a reception and be more comfortable is one of the reasons why tourists choose flats. “It’s much freer than a hotel where times must be observed”, summarized Alojargentina’s spokeswoman.
Cerebrisky agrees with Miccolis on the freedom the tourist enjoys when staying elsewhere than at a hotel, and says “flats are always cheaper than hotels. As tourists cook their food, I’d say they save almost half the rent value”.
Rents vary a lot according to each flat’s facilities and the period of time they decide to stay in the country (temporary lease agreements may last from a minimum one week period to a maximum six-month period). In general, one-room flats are around 500 dollars, while, for instance, a 280-square-meter flat (about 335 square yards) costs 2,800 pesos a month. Companies earn a percentage from the rent previously agreed on with flat landlords. In spite of the fact that both companies kept said information to themselves, both Alda Miccolis and Alberto Cerebrisky said they agree with landlords on the amount they wish to get and thus set their earnings and the rents.
Flats boast first class equipment and are ready for occupation. They have air conditioning, cable TV, a variety of electrical appliances, a telephone line and housekeeping. In addition, they are all located in strategic neighborhoods around the city, such as Puerto Madero, Recoleta, Barrio Norte, Palermo, Belgrano, Centro and Plaza San Martín. “Even if all neighborhoods are popular, among our 120 flats, the most sought-after are those situated in Palermo. It is an attractive neighborhood for tourists and it is also very much in fashion”, indicates Alojargentina’s Executive Director.
Another phenomenon related to tourism is foreigners purchasing real estate in Argentina. Alojargentina’s representative said that “tourists who come to visit find a very interesting and appealing country to invest on and decide to buy a flat. Everyone likes the country very much and wants to buy properties here: they love Buenos Aires’ buildings, architecture and cultural level”. With this in mind, the company has opened a new “section” devoted to buying and selling flats for tourists. They might even want to stay to live.

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