In 2020 COVID-19 stopped the world. On March 19, 2020, Argentina declared a general lockdown and most of the population had to stay at home. The country stopped all activities, except those considered essential. It closed its international and internal borders, with few exceptions, such as the transport of goods under strict control and monitoring. The motto was ‘I stay home’. The streets were empty… The confinement led people to screens and to dream of nature and gatherings with friends and family… Learn how during pandemic times Mendoza made the world dreaming of visiting it!
Mendoza invites you to dream
Mendoza did not paralyze and sneaked her images through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube to show its landscapes and natural beauties, its renowned autumn that was about to come. Little by little, Mendoza found the way to become the desired destination. The dream was to visit Mendoza as soon as possible.
The first initiative, in April 2020, was to invite those who had already visited Mendoza to share photos of the wonderful autumn landscapes to travel by images.
Soon the wineries also found their digital ways for the promotion and sale of their wines and they took advantage of the image of Mendoza as a natural and safe space.
On April 17 -despite the adverse context- Mendoza celebrated the Malbec Day with testimonials from well-known characters making a toast on social networks.
In May 2020, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism launched a campaign with photographs of iconic Mendoza landscapes together with the legend These places that you like so much are waiting for you. See you soon!. It was a reminder of the beauties of Mendoza to start making the list of places to visit.
Opening tourism within Mendoza
In June 2020, Argentina was still in confinement but the Government of Mendoza decided to open the doors to tourist and recreational activities under appropriate protocols for the inhabitants of Mendoza. Little by little, restaurants and wineries offered new activities with focus in nature and outdoor living to the people of Mendoza. To spread the good news and show the new attractive alternatives, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism trained more than 300 national tour operators through webinars, for them to tempt later on tourists from all over the country.
The people from Mendoza began to discover their own province and were encouraged throughout the pandemic through interesting programs such as “Mendoza for Mendocinos”, “Sale Mendoza” and “Sale Finde”, which offered very attractive rates and benefits.
The inhabitants of other parts of the country saw this opening as a sign of hope and even more yearned to come to Mendoza, where another reality was possible with responsibility and safety.
Mendoza at the top of the wish list
In the same month of June 2020, Forbes, the American business and finance magazine, published an article that praised the Uco Valley, a prominent wine-growing region in Mendoza. The article urged discovering some of the best labels and “drinking and savoring them from home until you can catch a flight to Argentina to visit these high-altitude wineries in the foothills of the captivating Andes.” Already in October 2019, Forbes had highlighted Mendoza among the best 20 places in the world to visit in 2020.
COVID could not stop the recognition of the best wine tourism proposals in Mendoza. The Best of Mendoza Wine Tourism contest relied on new virtual technological tools to receive applications and to carry out evaluations online. A colorful film replaced the traditional awards ceremony. It showed the best about the winners in a worldwide online broadcasting. You can watch it at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b9OHFgzlotY
In August, more than 100 international tour operators from Colombia, Honduras, Guatemala, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Ecuador, Peru, and India received virtual training about high-end experiences in Mendoza.
In search of original proposals to show the beauties of Mendoza, this unprecedented audiovisual proposal emerged. It was a cycle of musical sessions recorded in some of the most impressive natural landscapes of Mendoza. The ideas was traveling through music to isolated places of great beauty and biodiversity such as Huayquerías (San Carlos), Cordón del Plata and Uspallata.
Enjoy a trip through Huayquerias!
The challenge was to awaken all senses and make future visitors crave after the flavors of Mendoza. Gastronomy accompanies wine and enhances it. Therefore, in September 2020, Mendoza tempted the world with exquisite local recipes. Visitors can enjoy them when exploring the province. You can still discover them here!
October 2020 arrived with the good news of having achieved the Safe Travels stamp granted by the World Travel and Tourism Council. The SafeTravels Stamp was created for travelers to recognize destinations and businesses around the world that have adopted the SafeTravels health and hygiene global standardized protocols.
Showing highlights from all corners of Mendoza
At first, in July 2020, the Ministry of Tourism and Culture together with the Mendoza Wine Fund and the Argentina Wine Corporation offered seven webinars to present the different wine regions of Mendoza. They were called “Mendoza in a glass”.
Then in September, the series of webinars Identity, Heritage and Tourism showed places or cultural assets of the province that are tourist attractions.
The new normality urged to create alternative forms of travel and thus, in November, the series Mendoza creating the new tourism was born. It was a series of webinars organized by the Government of Mendoza together with the 18 municipalities, to rediscover the attractions of each corner of the province.
In November 2020, the Ministry launched the campaign “Activate Mendoza Mode’ showing how everything in Mendoza is more natural and healthy.
It proposed very original ways of complying with the ‘recommendations’ for pandemic prevention.
The national government launched the “Previaje” program at the end of October. It was an incentive to buy trips and tourist activities within Argentina in advance and use them when possible. The benefit was a 50% refund to buy other related services. Mendoza was the favorite destination within the program.
All this was in preparation for the opening of tourism within Argentina that occurred on December 1, 2020. The first weekend of opening to national tourism, Mendoza was the preferred destination and the occupation reached 100%.
Internal mobility made it possible to bring national influencers to Mendoza. TV hosts such as Marley, Maru Botana and the Petersen brothers, showed Mendoza to the rest of the country through their programs.
Harvest, the movie
Summer 2021 arrived with its ripe fruits and the harvest of the grapes to prepare wine. The restrictions and health risks were still complex, so it was decided to celebrate the Harvest festival with a film recorded by local artists and technicians. It presented the traditional topics of the Central Event of the National Harvest Festival. The recording finished at the end of January. Then, the Government of Mendoza coordinated with diplomatic representations and other contacts of Argentina abroad to broadcast the online transmission of this film on March 6th. Harvest video greetings arrived from different parts of the world and were part of the Harvest Festival 2021 website. You can see the Harvest 2021 film at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0O-iH8wAsgM
“Classical Music along the Wine Roads” is a classic activity in Mendoza. From March 28 to April 4, 2021, a series of concerts took place in different wineries and tourist places in Mendoza with the attendance of public. The 2021 edition honored the 100th birth anniversary of Astor Piazzola. In April, the month of Malbec, Mendoza offered a wide range of wine tourism activities with great participation of locals and visitors.
In June, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Mendoza launched the winter campaign called Pairings Mendoza Mode. It proposed attractive combinations of activities using the language of wine pairings.
Watch the video!
The spring campaign was called Springtime Mendoza Mode. Linear drawings of human figures enjoyed peaceful moments on very natural landscape backgrounds. Messages such as Spring lives in you or We breathe spring emphasized the need for air and nature that we all had.
The world looks at Mendoza
On September 21, 2021, the Zuccardi Winery in Uco Valley, won for the third consecutive year the award for the best winery and vineyard to visit in the world. This announcement brought the presence of Mendoza to numerous social networks globally. https://www.worldsbestvineyards.com/list/1-50
On September 25, 2021, international flights returned to Mendoza airport. At that time, they could only repatriate Argentine residents or bring travelers with special permission. The Provincial Government continued to request the reopening of the airport for international tourism as it had done since the opening for national tourism.
From October 7th to 17th, it was the turn of ‘Tango along the Wine Paths’. Tango, the music and dance that represents Argentina worldwide, is the perfect pairing to Mendoza wine since 2008. Different wineries and locations open their doors to tango shows. This is an initiative of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Mendoza together with Provincial Casino Institute and the associations ‘Wine Fund’(Fondo Vitivinícola) and Wineries of Argentina (Bodegas de Argentina).
2021 was a special year for tango as it marked the 100th birth anniversary of the renowned composer Astor Piazzolla. Thirty-five shows took place throughout the province.
On October 28, 2021, Mendoza was elected chair of the Great Wine Capitals Global Network. This network brings together the most relevant 11 cities and regions of wine tourism in the world. The election happened within the Network’s Annual Conference in Mainz, Germany, where Mendoza was also confirmed as the venue for the 2022 Annual Conference.
Finally, at the end of November 2021, the Argentine national government authorized the opening of borders to international tourism. Little by little, visitors from Chile, Brazil and from different parts of the world returned to Mendoza in search of fulfilling their dream.
People from Mendoza welcome the visitors warmly, happy to hear once again other languages in the streets. So happy, that in March Mendoza invited everyone to celebrate the ‘Miracle of New Wine’, the colorful show to honor the National Harvest Festival.
Tourists were all around the City of Mendoza, enjoying the Harvest Festival celebrations together with the locals as it was in the old days.
All the work done during the arduous pandemic months paid off. Today Mendoza is at the top of the national tourism occupancy ranking.
For those who could not come yet, we are already preparing “Classical Music along the Wine Roads 2022” from April 10th to 17th.
We invite you to discover Mendoza and its beauties.
Make your dream come true! Come to Mendoza!
Photo and Video credits: Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Mendoza
Text by Carolina Suárez Garcés
Learn more about Mendoza Great Wine Capital