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Thursday, November 8, 2012

Uruguay: Tourism mystery revealed

Latin America has not been the exception regarding the rapid growth in global tourism over the last few years. Between 1995 and 2011 the number of tourists in South America grew at an average annual rate of 5%, slightly higher than the average growth recorded worldwide (4%). Uruguay, located between Argentina and Brazil, with only a surface of 176.215 m2 is also included in this growing trend. In fact, it is one of the countries in Latin America that receives more tourists in relation to its population.

Tourism activity in Uruguay has shown an exceptional dynamism during recent years. The number of tourists has grown steadily since 2008, reaching in 2011 the historical record of three million people. Incomes under this activity have tripled in the last five years, reaching in 2011 US$ 2.19 billion.  In 2011 tourism expenditure per capita reached its historical peak, standing at US$ 730. In turn, the percentage of tourist arrivals in relation to Uruguay´s population has experienced an important increase, from 41% in 2002 to 88% in 2011.

Uruguay was one of the few destinations that managed to increase the number of tourists and foreign exchange for this activity during the 2009 crisis. This event stirred the interest of the World Tourism Organization who sent a delegation headed by the Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization, together with the regional representative of the World Tourism Organization Commission for the Americas, Carlos Vogeler, in order to study the country as a special case.

Montevideo and Punta del Este are the main destinations that captivate foreign tourists who upon their arrival find developing modern cities in balance with their surrounding environment. The high quality of life found in these cities is not only an attractive feature for tourists but also for investors. Real Estate investment has captured more than a quarter of the Uruguayan foreign investment and Punta del Este and Montevideo have been the main focus for these investments.

On the one hand, Punta del Este has positioned itself not only as a luxury location, known as "the Monaco of the Southern Cone," but also as the best option to invest in the real estate sector mainly due to its privileged location, excellent climate, beautiful beaches, rugged landscape and wide range of leisure and culture.

The strive of Punta del Este to continue as a sustainable development paradigm, with a sound growth and respectful of the environment has succeeded in positioning this city as the continent's "VIP real estate destination" and guarantees its consolidation as the favorite tourism resort for the most demanding tourists as well as the main target for profitable investments, this is evidenced based on data supplied by the National Statics Institute of Uruguay, according to which Punta del Este is the location with the largest number of sale and purchase of properties, second to Montevideo.  Moreover, almost 75% of these operations are carried out on high-end properties.

On the other hand, Montevideo, the capital city of Uruguay, stands out for its strategic location and modern infrastructure, positioning itself as a regional "hub" par excellence for the Southern Cone. The aforementioned, together with the highest standards of living, have transformed the city into an excellent place to live, work and invest. This has been reflected in the increase of Montevideo's office market; in 2009 there were 68,575 m2 of class A and A+ offices while by the end of 2011 they reached 190,460 m2.

About Uruguay XXI

Uruguay XXI is the country's Investment Promotion and Export of Goods and Services Agency, working to internationalize the Uruguayan economy. For more information, visit:

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