The mountain tops are covered with snow, but skiers are absent, while San Carlos de Bariloche, one of the most famous ski resorts in South America, remains deserted at the height of the winter season in the Southern Hemisphere, due to the “Covid-19” pandemic.
“We have closed and we have no activity at all,” said Belene Garcia Burton, 36, who runs a hotel his family has owned for three generations in the city and heads its tourism authority.
San Carlos de Bariloche is located 1,800 kilometers southwest of Buenos Aires, overlooking a magnificent lake and is Argentina’s fourth tourist destination for foreigners. Expatriates from Brazil and Uruguay rank it in the second place, after Buenos Aires, among their favorite destinations, according to the benefit of the owners of tourism companies.
At the beginning of 2020, when the “Covid-19” epidemic was still looking far away, Bariloche was dreaming of improving the excellent results recorded last season when 112,000 tourists came to her hotels, including 15,000 on direct flights from Brazil.
“The city is beautiful, even wonderful, and it snows heavily on it, but it is a city without tourists now,” said Jose Libya, a 46-year-old restaurant owner in Siro Catedral.
20 kilometers from the center of Bariloche, Cerro Catedral Ski Resort boasts 120 kilometers of terraces over an area of 600 hectares. At this stage of the year, preparations for the new season are on a raging fire. However, the “Covid-19” pandemic this year prevented that.
On March 20, 44 million Argentines were imposed a mandatory quarantine. The measures have since eased in a large part of the country, but it has strengthened again in Buenos Aires and its environs with the increase in infections. But the borders remain closed and commercial flights suspended.