"low Quality" Tourism In Buenos Aires


Jul 5, 2014
I have been interested reading in the past year how several European cities like Amsterdam, Barcelona, Rome etc have been changing laws and policies to "increase" the level of tourism, and by this I mean limiting the number of cheap hotels, tacky souvenir stores, attractions and activities that encourage partying and the like. Basically trying to keep the cities from becoming Disneyland-like cities that are unlivable and start a downhill trend of overall quality of offerings. http://www.bbc.com/n...europe-41830304

I work in tourism in Buenos Aires and would argue this phenomenon (going downhill) is happening here though not at the scale of European capitals because of the much lower number of people visiting, but that high inflation combined with many people looking to make a quick buck here and outdated offerings have turned the main tourism areas into low quality attractions that ultimately lead to fewer return tourists and negative word of mouth for the entire city/country. I would give Calle Florida, Caminito and the San Telmo fair as prime examples. While there are lots of great attractions and businesses here for tourists, I worry that the decline in tourists here is due to this and that "high quality" tourists that spend more money at restaurants, lodging and travel services are choosing other destinations that are cooler and have worked to keep quality up.

Do you believe the city should enact any rules like European cities to keep the level of tourism services high? Does Buenos Aires have the luxury economically to do controls like this? If so, what ideas do you have?
Funny- although I am not a tourist, I go to Calle Florida, Boca, and San Telmo on Sunday morning all the time- but, not for the cheap crappy stuff.
Calle Florida, for example, has great bookstores, downstairs in several of the gallerias- crazy 1960's facades crammed full of amazing finds, architecture books, art, music, folios of maps and prints- wonderful things. Usually interesting uncompromising art upstairs in the CC Borges, great 1900 era architecture all along, and of course, Galleria Guemes is a destination worthy of Milan or Paris. No, I dont buy leather jackets, but I do sometimes duck into Galleria Jardin for printer ink or hard to find cords.
Boca, I do skip Caminito- but I go to Proa pretty regularly, and the cafe upstairs has an amazing deck with great views. There are jewels to be found in the gutter, you just have to look.
San Telmo on sunday mornings is actually still full of world class antiques at very reasonable prices, especially jewelry and glassware, the food has gotten really good- Saigon, the French bakery, Lo de Fredy, Beer and Frites along with a curry chicken wrap or burger at La Cresta (sorry- just realized they closed the San Telmo location- have to go to Almagro for the La Cresta experience) , ElectroCumbiaFolklorica late at night it Xirgu, and the Museum Row on Indepencia, with maybe a fancy meal at Cafe San Juan.
San Telmo can offer a very classy experience, just walk right past the bad lip synching tango singers and mimes. I do stop for fresh squeezed orange juice, and sometimes some palo santo to burn, in amongst the bongs and bracelets with your name woven in...

In short, in pretty much every barrio, you can still find, just steps away, unique and real places to shop, eat, drink, and see art, music, or culture. Its nothing like the areas that are being policed in european capitals, where the lederhosen are from china.