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Exclusive Interview: Aerolineas Argentinas and on Italian ITA

L R Claudio Neri Aerolineas Ricardo Sosa INPROTUR Fabian Lombardo Aerolineas image courtesy of M.Masciullo e1651095253956

eTurboNews met with the Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) of Aerolineas Argentinas airline, Fabian Lombardo, and the Argentina National Institute of Tourism Promotion (INPROTUR) Executive Secretary Ricardo Sosa to discuss the airline’s launch campaign.

The driving theme of the campaign is “Ahora es el momento” – Now is the time.

Here is the interview:

eTN: With the resumption of flights of the Aerolineas from June 2022, there will be a large availability of seats. How much do you expect it to affect an increase in tourism to Argentina?

Fabian Lombardo: The frequency consists of 3 weekly flights by Aerolineas and ITA with 5 flights. There will be about 2,000 seats available a week from Italy to Argentina and we, therefore, expect a substantial increase in tourism.

We are awaiting the demand statistics to see if the flow will be greater from Italy to Argentina or from Argentina to Italy, however, we are sure that the load factor will be around 80%, mainly tourists.

eTN: Have you planned special rates to encourage departures and to facilitate the demand?

Lombardo: Every time we open a route, we provide discounted rates to stimulate the demand. These concessions are also put in place by ITA.

eTN: What strategy have you implemented in Italy to stimulate new groups of tourists or for business travelers? Do you have a marketing plan – the Argentine tourism board and the airline?

Ricardo Sosa: In the pre-pandemic period, Italy sent about 120,000 tourists to Argentina a year and was ranked among the top 3 European countries. Up to November 10, 2021, more than 30,000 Italian tourists arrived in Argentina. At that time, we did not have direct flights, while now we have 3 of Aerolineas and 5 of ITA; this multiplies the number of seats available.

Our goal is to recover the pre-pandemic number as soon as possible. We hope that this recovery can take place within this year.

eTN: Do you have a marketing plan for presenting the destination to the travel trade?

Sosa: Our presence is constant towards northern Italy and Rome where we will present the new air services. We will also be present in the press and with presentations to the tour operators. Delegates from the Argentine regions will organize meetings with operators in Italy to present their destinations. Following us are 6 Argentine tourism operators who will meet Italian operators in Rome.

We have a tight schedule that also the Argentine consulate and embassy in Italy will collaborate to provide information to potential Italian tourists.

eTN: What other initiatives do you have planned to stimulate Italian tourists to come to Argentina. Do you have a promotional plan, for example Argentina Tourism and Aerolineas?

Sosa: Yes, we are working on a joint promotional operation by Aerolineas and INPROTUR.

In a month, we will put in place a digital card system that we will give away. Every Italian who buys an Aerolineas ticket upon arrival in Argentina will get an INPROTUR digital card loaded with a quantity of dollars to spend inside Argentina with a gastronomic experience. The amount in the card ranges from $10 to $100. The card will be redeemable in certain restaurants for a dinner, a night of tango, etc.

eTN: And the service on board?

It’s super! Even the meals are a preview of good Argentine cuisine to feel in the country before landing.

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