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National tourism: Argentines, to rest

Brief history of national tourism from the gala hats, on the rambla to the fridaderita. Mar del Pata and Cordoba, first landscapes of the Argentine respite.

Mar del Plata

 The relationship between Argentines and tourism came from top to bottom.  First the aristocratic families promoted European health customs, coastal stays of kings inaugurated in England in the 18th century, with the local attachment of the Yellow Fever of 1871. The terrible plague expelled the wealthy to the first summer mansions and palaces, especially in the northern part of Buenos Aires. The South of the province was another story, yet without limits, and in contention with the native peoples and the Creoles. And in the rest of the country, the Sierras y Cuyo still did not have the reputation of health benefits although traditional families in the Interior began quietly to build their summer residences.  Unlike other countries, which started their far-reaching tourism policies early, Uruguay and Brazil, Argentina only during the presidency of Frondizi had the articulation of a National Tourism Directorate in conjunction with National Parks . It had been almost a hundred years since the Luro and Peralta Ramos started dreaming of a spa in a nascent party of General Pueyrredón, encouraged by Governor Dardo Rocha and Deputy José Hernández.  They were dreaming about Mar del Plata, the zero milestone of Argentine tourism. 

The history of Mar del Plata can be divided into four: “the exclusive” in 1880 with Peralta Ramos, Carlos Pellegrini and his own; “the classemediera” in 1938 with the arrival of cars and employees, and small merchants, Buenos Aires; “popular” in 1950 with a country reaching millions; and, finally, “the coastal city”, starting from two thousand, with the antecedent of the reforms during the last dictatorship, a megacity overlooking the sea.  These geological layers of architectures, projects and feelings coexist in the exclusive neighborhoods on the Rambla, on Colón and Luro avenues to the Castagnino and MAR museums . In a comment by the US ambassador in 1949, a social breakpoint in the spa, one that ceased to be exclusive and/or classemediero to massive, appears, “in Mar del Plata, a modern Argentinean -aristocrat - goes to the beach at 11 am, never with less than two servants to take care of children and accessories (sic) Sit quiet in a chair or hammock, never in the sand until 1 pm, never later. The vendors of Playa Grande who sell empanadas and alfajores, identify them as the “duchess”, the “princess”, the “queen”. Prices reflect the degree of royalty (sic) Among older Argentines avoiding a tan is an elaborate process... these Argentines consider people with lower dark skin... young people have begun to show dissatisfaction with this outdated look... buy as many lotions and creams as the Americans do. to achieve a toast that impresses the less fortunate who stayed at home...”, closes the foreign diplomat in a lucid look at class imaginaries, in a recovery of researcher Elisa Pastoriza.  Juan D' Arienzo  would respond in the milongas of the “less fortunate” to those young people creamed in “Che, Doe” of the same year, lyrics and music by Felix Lima, “Where You Che, Fulano/con tu vida artificial” The following year, the Peronist government would inaugurate the Chapadmalal Complex, in lands expropriated to landowners Martínez de Hoz, a “pavilional” model that would be replicated in state resorts. Chau white pallor of the duquesas, princesses, queens on the marplatense beaches. Welcome to the “less fortunate” And, hello, starting point for the holidays of the upper, and upper middle classes, in Uruguay, mainly Punta del Este, and Chile, in Viña del Mar.

 Everything had started one summer of 1886, the first season in Mar del Plata, with the arrival of the Sud Railway . Aristocrats and front-line politicians crowded in the Grand Hotel, in an almost empty rugged environment, which within a few years would be populated by distinguished clubs, Rambla Bristol, Club Mar del Plata, Ocean Club and, later, Pueyrredón Club “ The social world then it was a closed fence whose perfect symbol was in the Ocean Club, which had a wooden fence between the arcades of the Rambla,” commented journalist Josué Quesada in a summer of the twenties “which forced the public to circulate on the outside side, under the sun or rain, because theonly that could be guarded were the members of the Ocean Club . Of course, the well-known families of the old landowners belonged to him, for which reason I called that place the “ corral de las finas ”, a phrase that was widely accepted” This social bubble began to deflate in the twenties with the progressive advance of the routes, and cars in middle-class hands, almost half a million by the end of the decade. Small and medium-sized merchants and hoteliers help, who look for greater business with this consumer audience, and adapt to new tastes in line with the state intervention of the conservative governments of the thirties, with the urban complex of Playa Grande and the complex Bristol-Rambla-Casino-Hotel Provincial and adjacencies. The coup de grace will be the brand new Route 2 in 1938. The following decade will witness alluvional tourism in Playa Grande — and the non-conflict withdrawal of the upper classes towards closed neighborhoods of the beaches south of Mar del Plata.

 Cordoba from Sarmiento to Sabattini 

Recreation as a state policy based on the mass democracy of  1946  would deserve a deeper article, one that would add, for example, successive economic gainsoacute; micas and social lighting in the thirties, paid holidays, raising in remuneration, English Saturday, etc. As a reference to the case of Mar del Plata, the  arrival of trade union tourism, with various expropriations and purchases by the government of President Perón, had its relevance as much as investments by private entrepreneurs, many of the entertainment business, which turned the seaside town of few into a tourist city for many  “Social Tourism will aim to enable the working population access to places of tourism and will be organized, facilitating welfare and social assistance services of professional associations, construction of hotels and holiday colonies, and possible franchises of the means of transport,” said Perón in Mar del Plata; and officially launched the Argentine tourism industry. And to understand  tourism in the same package of any modernizing project . While it had to wait until the mid-sixties for these actions to take effect, and the spill in the social pyramid is ostensible, those first generations who saw “for the first time the sea” would ensure in the future the prospects of one of the economic engines of a country with so many attractive to the tourist and, above all, to the Argentine “ There is no city in the world that can present this miracle... Mar del Plata is the great leveler ” journalists would say astonished in the seventies. There classes look and paints intersect, and next to an exclusive tent the fridaderita and a ball rests.

While projects on Mar del Plata could condense the history of Argentine tourism, “Mar del Plata has received the title of the “Balneario Nacional”, cried the daily La Nación in 1936, we succinctly broadened the focus on this synthesis of the history of national tourism.  President Sarmiento was the first to stimulate tourism in  Cordoba , in “Argentina Switzerland”,   for medicinal and recreational purposes.  In 1887 the arrival of the Central Cordoba Railway consolidated a trend of health hospitals in Alta Gracia, Cosquín, La Falda and Jesús María. Only from the thirties, and also with the road improvements, the variety of Cordobish landscapes are appreciated and promoted in the media. And tourists arrive massively from the Litoral and, several in modern micros, from the North.  Sponsored by the popular radicalism of Governor Amadeo Sabattini (1936-1942), the guilds begin their hotel expansion before the Buenos Aires coast.  The Río Tercero Reservoir Complex of national state employees, inaugurated in 1937, was transformed into the social tourism model of Peronism to come. Towards the end of the last century, the convening popular festivals, and the magnet of the summer show of Villa Carlos Paz, along with new attractions such as Traslasierras or Villa Calamuchita, changed the compass of the Argentine holidayer towards peace of the mountains and streams, stone, quartet and fernet.

 Mar del Plata before Mar del Plata  

José Coelho de Meyrelles was Portuguese consul in Buenos Aires during Rosism and, based on his good relations with the Argentine government and the Rural Society, he gets the permits to found a saladeril establishment in what we now know as Mar del Plata. In 1856, a Portuguese consortium financed the saladero, and a gigantic corral, which was located opposite the Royal Hotel (now demolished), on the current Luro Avenue. An iron dock was also built, the first rambla that had the “Happy”, and the pioneer trade, the general branch store, “La Proveedora” At that time the small town settled next to the livestock establishment was called the Port of Laguna de los Padres. In 1860 due to lack of growth Coelho de Meyrelles decided to sell the four rooms near the coast, in which he had invested 15 million pesos plus the first studio for a modern port. Patricio Peralta Ramos is the buyer, who knew the Portuguese of the Rural Society, and from the times of Roses, because he was one of the main suppliers of the government punzó.

In 1873 Peralta Ramos presented a project to Governor Mariano Acosta for the founding of a city, on the current grounds of the port of Mar del Plata. In the foundations he assured that it was an important enclave for the provincial agricultural development with a medium salting mill, a water mill, a lime and stone church (Santa Cecilia), bothecilia, bakery, blacksmithing and shoe shop plus twenty houses made of stone, wood and ranches.On February 10, 1874 Mar del Plata was founded with two hundred families while twenty anchored ships fired salvas and the national anthem was sang. Behind this project was also Pedro Luro, an enriched Spanish landowner with thousands of hectares throughout the province, who with Juan Barreiro and Peralta Ramos support the agro-export expansion promoted by the eighties generation.  There was nothing to foreshadn a city of tights and umbrellas. At this point, the brothers Luro, José, Santiago and Pedro Orestes acquire relevance, who are taking the reins of the commercial society, an apparent insanity of Father Don Pedro, and imagine Mar del Plata like the European spa towns in Biarritz or Bristol style . While José lobbies in La Plata for the railway to arrive, and places Santiago in front of the Bristol Hotel, founded on January 8, 1888, kick-off the tourist Mardel, Pedro conquers investors with his relations in the financial world, promoter of the law on public limited companies, and poll.Iacute; tico, deputy from 1898 to 1912 near Pellegrini. Pedro is due to the national law of 1909 that ordered the construction of the Port of Mar del Plata, and completes the communications of a city that was to be called the Pearl of the Atlantic, with its stately palaces adorning the rambla. Finally to Pedro we also owe this description of Mar del Plata in 1878, “at nine o'clock at night we crossed the stream of the port... we stopped at a time and without giving us a word of order before the magnitude of the ocean, illuminated at that time by the reflections of a red moon, huge, that looked all the contours of your disk on the water line. I have never seen the sea and I declare to him that, - tells his friend Manuel Guerrero, another wealthy landlord - despite the relative tranquility of the waves and the soft murmur caused by those that blew softly on the sands of the shore,  I have never experienced a more intense emotion nor do I have has felt smaller before God's work” 150 years away, the same emotion is repeated on a night of rambla  marplatense .  

Sources: Pastoriza, E.  The conquest of the holidays. Brief history of tourism in Argentina.  Buenos Aires: Edhasa. 2011; Troncoso, O.  Buenos Aires has fun.  Buenos Aires: CEAL. 1971;  Mar del Plata, an urban history.  Buenos Aires: Boston Foundation 1991; Torre, J.C  Mar del Plata, an Argentinian utopia  in Punto de Vista magazine No. 51. Buenos Aires. 1995.

Publication Date: 05/01/2021

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