When talking about shopping trips abroad, the most common is that Chile is mentioned. However, in recent times, another neighboring country had an even stronger growth as a shopping destination for Argentines: Paraguay. A lot of argentinian are preparing their best carry-on luggage to get an airplane to Paraguay.
According to Clarín newspaper, for the chance to buy at prices up to 60% lower, an unprecedented crowd is crossing every day by land and air. And come back with full trunks and suitcases.
According to Paraguayan migration records, between 2010 and 2014 they had only traveled between 220,000 and 310,000 Argentine tourists a year.
In 2015, when the Pope visited that country, the number jumped to 848,000. But in 2016 the change became very favorable and the shopping boom even surpassed the “Francisco effect”, with a record of 932,000 crosses.
Thus, the arrivals of Argentine Paraguay tripled in two years (while Chile “only” doubled) and quadrupled since 2011. So far in 2017, meanwhile, revenues grew another 3% over the record.
“There are no records of similar figures in previous years and we maintain the expectation of greater growth, why not, reaching this year to exceed one million Argentine tourists, essentially motivated by purchases,” explained in the Ministry of Tourism of Paraguay. They say that most visit Asunción, Ciudad del Este or Encarnación, especially to buy clothes, shoes and electronics. “Tours to shopping malls became a tourist boom,” they highlight.
The big magnet is prices that in technology can be 25 to 60% lower, according to Clarín. For example, a Sony 4K SmartTV of 65 “worth $ 98,000 in Argentina is $ 54,000 across the river (45% less). One of 40” Samsung that runs $ 14,000 in Posadas is $ 8,000 in Encarnación (-43% ).
In cell phones, the Galaxy S8 drops from $ 23,000 to $ 12,800 (-44%), the J7 drops from $ 8,000 to $ 3,500 (-56%) and the iPhone 7 Plus, instead of the $ 33,500 in Argentina and the $ 21,300 of Chile, costs there $ 15,100 (-55%).
PS4 consoles of $ 13,000 are seen at $ 6,050 (-53%), professional drones of $ 50,000 are achieved at half that price and cameras like the GoPro Hero5 fall from $ 14,000 to $ 5,900 (-58%).
“What is most convenient is electronics, cosmetics, perfumes and footwear. In that you get better prices than those in Chile. Clothing is cheaper than in Argentina and there are good brands, but in that Santiago has more variety and better prices,” compare Mónica Silva, journalist specialized in shopping tourism and author of the blog Alma Viajera. In high-end perfumes, Silva said, the savings reach 65%.
The bulk of Argentines arrive in cars and buses from nearby provinces, saturating bi-national steps every weekend with waiting times that arrive at 10 am.
Once at destination, they enter the markets looking for good prices, a mission in which it is key to carry dollars and haggle.
But now, as a novelty, plane arrivals also began to skyrocket. Due to the high demand -80% of average occupancy-, Aerolineas Argentinas has just added three weekly departures to Asunción from Capital (it already has 17). This year direct routes were also opened from Córdoba (by Air Europa) and from Salta (by Amaszonas).