Argentina’s Unofficial Tourist Tax

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It’s not uncommon when traveling in Argentina that a tourist will get one price while the an Argentine gets another. In fact, Aerolineas Argentinas does this “officially” by charging non-residents in dollars while charging locals in pesos (about 1/3 the cost).

This photo from TripTouch is just the most blatant example we’ve seen so far. Hey, another reason for you to learn a little Spanish before heading down.

Orange Juice $5, Jugo de Naranja $4


Tim Patterson on March 10, 08

Ha – that sign cracked me up. I can’t blame the vendor at all. Reminds me – tangentially – of friends who put a sign out in Vermont for tourists:

“Fresh Dingleberries. Pick Your Own.”

Dan on March 12, 08

It’s not quite that – Aerolineas for example does not, at all, charge residents in pesos and non-residents in dollars creating a 1/3 price. They simply have two prices – and the difference is about 40% – and they flat out state that it’s a discount for residents because it’s a “state supported” airline. Same with municipal theaters, government run attractions (like the amusement park in Tigre or the zoo in B.A.). It’s not that unusual for countries to offer “taxpayers” a discount – same thing is true in places like Macchu Pichu in Peru, it’s half price for citizens to go there, and there are places in the U.S. that do similar things. That’s entirely different from the local “gringo tax” – which involves non-posted prices, unlike the sign (Argentina has always used the $ sign for the peso, since the days they were pegged together) – though I’m sure there are some out there who take advantage of that. The gringo or tourist tax is one where someone who doesn’t look like they’re from here is simply quoted a higher price than someone who looks like they are would be. I’ve been quoted prices that were obviously high many a time, I flash my DNI, make a joke about the tax, and get the “real” price.

César González on March 13, 08

Whoops, thanks for the correction on the Aerolineas prices Dan. That price difference makes much more sense now.

[…] likely due to a surge in exports of fuel and grains, Argentina’s tax revenue rose 38 percent to 24.3 billion pesos ($7.3 billion) in October, the second highest level […]

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