Backpackers leaving South America
Photo: Gilad Kavalerchik
Israeli backpackers are no longer thronging to South America. Reports from the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem reveal that a major drop in the number of Israeli backpackers travelling in South American countries was registered in the last year.
The decrease in Israeli tourists was seen in some of the most popular backpacker destinations: Argentina, Brazil, Peru and Colombia. The reason behind the sudden drop is the increase in prices in these countries and the weakening dollar, Yedioth Ahronoth reported on Wednesday.
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Israeli Consul General in Buenos Aires Giora Luterstein compiled a report that states that from May 2011 there was a sharp decrease in the number of Israelis entering the country.
A total of 38,061 Israelis visited Argentina in 2011 compared with 43,496 in 2010 – a 13% decrease. According to the consul, it is estimated that 2012 statistics will show an even sharper drop of 20%-30%. These estimates are based on the decrease in the number of Israelis seeking consular services in Argentina.
"The main reason for the change in Israeli movements," explains Luterstein in his report, "is the high inflation in Argentina and the cost of living which is now equal to Israel's and which leads to fewer backpackers choosing to come."
It should be noted that the decrease in the number of Israelis visiting Argentina includes Argentinean expats: Fewer are coming back to visit their families and friends – for the same reasons backpackers are abandoning the destination.
Israel's Ambassador to Chile David Dadon had similar statistics to report: "We also feel the drop in the number of Israeli backpackers. The cost of living has increased at a rate of 30%-40% and every backpacker I talk to complains about it."
Israeli diplomats in Brazil also reported a drop in the number of Israelis who visited the carnival in Rio de Janeiro over the strengthening real and weakening dollar.