Argentina tightens regulations on tourism abroad to protect its dollars

Argentina tightens regulations on tourism abroad to protect its dollars ...

Spain's central bank has tightened its spending regulations to buy airline tickets and tourism services abroad, aimed at reducing foreign currency reserves.

The bank is directing a sale of overseas tickets and tourism services for Argentine customers who have been hit hard by years of high inflation and a poor economy. Currently, a ban from Friday to Friday, the bank prohibits exporting in installments from overseas flights and tourism services.

Bank said it would be better if a single payment was kept in place, or if they could finance these tickets in a bank loan, but the move would likely make things difficult, because cards payment limits often are low and interest rates often are very high for loans.

The government said the measure was needed due to the very bad economic situation and the ongoing negotiating strategy to roll over the IMF's debt of the same amount of $45 billion.

In a news conference, the president said this is a "one-off, temporary measure" that will help overcome obstacles in a time of reactivation in Argentina. "We must take control of international negotiations, the largest in Argentina."

The locals sought alternative ways to buy greenbacks. Argentina's restrictions on access to dollars were imposed in 2019 and lowered their access to the currency bill, which resulted in a diverging exchange rate, which diverged between the official and the unofficial markets.

In the highly-controlled official market, the exchange rate of some hundred dollars per dollar is equal to half the time people pay for dollars in unofficial trade.

The travel agencies and airlines have complained to the government about the new restrictions because they fear they will hit activity as soon as it became apparent following the COVID-19 pandemic.

"These are desperate measures and in the current context they are understood although they aren't justified," said Guido Lorenzo, economist at LCG.

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