When the last weeks of winter are still going through and attentive to the delicate economic, financial and exchange situation in Argentina, the Uruguayan government accelerated decision making to sustain the summer seasonwhose success depends largely on the flow of visitors that emigrate from this side of the Río de la Plata.
With this objective, the administration of Luis Lacalle Pou announced this Wednesday a series of tax measures whose purpose is lower vacation costs due to the mismatch in the exchange rate on both sides.
The dollar in Uruguay began 2022 at a value of $44.71 per unit and at the close of today it had an appreciation of almost 10% trading at $40.40.
In the case of Argentina, the path was exactly the opposite and, furthermore, the situation is complicated by the different exchange rates in force. The blue dollar – which a consumer can access to take a trip – went from $205 on January 3 to $296, which implies a depreciation of its value of around 50%. Meanwhile, the dollar card -which is used to finance purchases with credit cards- suffered an increase in its tax rate (part of the value of the official $144.29 plus 30% country tax and 45% income tax) and the today’s closing price at $252.51.
Uruguay: tax benefits for tourists
With this scenario, the eastern government announced that From September 1 to April 30, 2023, foreign tourists will enjoy a zero rate in the value added tax for gastronomy services and vehicle rental. This benefit is the sum of the return of 10.5% on the rental of houses for tourist use. Likewise, it was established that vehicles with foreign patents have access to a 30% discount on fuel.
“It is an effort that the government is making to make it a little more attractive from the economic point of view for some markets such as Argentina,” Tourism Minister Tabaré Viera said during a conference.
Lacalle Pou. The Government of Uruguay seeks to encourage the arrival of Argentine tourists.
The measurements result a relief for the hard-hit pockets of Argentines.
For example, a liter of gasoline in Uruguay has an approximate value of US$80, equivalent to US$2. Taking the close of the “dollar card“, this implies $504 for each liter of gasoline. The 30% discount that Uruguay will apply reduces it to about $350, double what it costs at national pumps. Therefore, filling a 50-liter tank will require around $17,500 against the $25,000 that the same load would have required without the Uruguayan state benefit.
In the case of accommodation, the scenario is much more open due to the variety of properties and the needs of each visitor. But the offers that can be seen on the web today start from minimum values of $25,000 a night for the traditional week of Christmas and New Year for very basic locations for 3 or 4 people. As the comforts and amenities of the apartments or houses grow, the values skyrocket.
In car rental, a Renaul Kwid or similar has a daily value of $21,900, which is reduced to $17,000 after deducting VAT. To this is added, for example, the additional expense of the extension of the insurance, a service that does not contemplate the reduction of the tax.
Food and drinks: prices in Uruguay
In the case of food, a traditional Canadian goat in one of the most popular restaurants in Uruguay it costs 755 Uruguayan pesos, equivalent to about US$19. The Argentine wallet would cost something more than $4,700. A full bun burger costs US$300, which is US$7.5 and $1,890. A classic mozzarella pizza is being promoted at $490, at a rate of $12 and $3,100.
Meanwhile, the most representative beer in Uruguay is sold at US$175, US$4.3 dollars, which represents US$1,100 nationally. A 600 cc soda costs US$98, which is equivalent to US$2.45 dollars or $617 Argentines.
Tax benefits seek to mitigate the high cost of goods and services in Uruguay.
If the alternative is Supermarket and cooking at home, it is possible to reduce expenses, but still in values much higher than those that govern this side of the Plata. On the meat side, the differences are important. In one of the most popular stores, a kilo of roast is offered at US$389, which means about US$2,500. The tail of the rump is priced at U$469, which at the national exchange rate represents about $3,000. A chicken hindquarter can be had for $249 per kilo, which is $1,600.
In the case of beverages, 1.5-liter sodas fluctuate between U$100/110, which mark a value greater than $1,400.
On the side of alcoholic beverages, for example wines, prices start at $2,500 and beers from $806.
To access the advertised benefits, visitors must keep all purchase receipts, present them when leaving the country and then they will be credited to the accounts of the cards used.
Undoubtedly, with these values, middle-class Argentine visitors will have to settle accounts very well to enjoy a few days of pleasure on the Uruguayan beaches without compromising their finances on their return.