Shopping Tourism in countries of the Southern Cone

To follow, we will analyze the situation of Shopping Tourism in some regions of Latin America, its impact and Luxury Tourism.


With a population of approximately 3,5 Million inhabitants in the past year (2017), Uruguay received a number of over 4,2 Million tourists, without counting those that entered through the dry border, which brought foreign exchange earnings of 2.334 Million Dollar. This number represented 27,9 % more than in the previous period, which allowed a positive balance of 1.334 Million Dollard as the minister of Tourism, Liliam Kechichian, informed. (Report of the Uruguayan presidency on its portal).

So according this report that was given from the ministry of tourism in Uruguay, the number of tourists that entered the country exceeded the number of inhabitants. Now in regard to shopping tourism in Uruguay, what is its situation? Following the line in which we made the distinction between transnational products and products with cultural identity.

Considering the first category of transnational products, Uruguay is on the rise. This can mainly be seen by the amount of shopping centers opened in recent years in its capital Montevideo, encouraging Shopping Tourism.

Author: Uruguay XXI
Author: Uruguay XXI

Montevideo Shopping, Punta Carretas Shopping, Shopping Terminal Tres Cruces, Portones Shopping, Plaza Arocena Shopping Mall are commercial centers with more than 100 shops each that bring 20 years of activity. In 2012 and 2013 with the support of the state two shopping centers were opened in the capital Montevideo in addition to those already mentioned, Costa Urbana Shopping and Nuevo Centro Shopping. All those mentioned count with brands from all over the world, of any type whether it’s clothing, electrical appliances, technology, design, on top of having places of food, cinemas and entertainment for young people. With the opening of these two shopping centers and the amount of tourists the country received the importance and relevance given to Shopping Tourism is obvious.

On the other hand, those products of cultural identity very important within Shopping Tourism and for the region need to be mentioned.

This is where the country needs to ask: Who am I?, and based on this question offer products with identity for the tourist to take a unique souvenir of the visited place.

Uruguay has unique things which they bring to products for tourists, such as for example the characteristic mate drink which is usually an artisanal product sold in centers of handicraft, Candombe and Murga as its own and unique musical styles that are usually very striking for the tourists who often buy products ranging from albums to the instruments used.

Work of painters and distinct artists that make unique products for the tourist to take, wines made in the region on top of a gastronomical grill offer that is usually of interest for the tourists making them take books and recipes to cook when they return to their countries.

Photo: Lautaro Andrean
Photo: Lautaro Andrean


As with the large majority of countries of Latin America, the trend is that the tourist entries are increasing.

In August 2018, 227.400 arrivals of nonresidential tourists was estimated, with an interannual increase of 7,4%. (Ministry of Tourism of Argentina).

Now if we follow with the line and focus on Shopping Tourism, referring to transnational products we see a graphic of the investments in shopping centers made by Argentina, and we see and rectify one more time how this trend is increasing.

We see how Argentina, just like Uruguay, has been investing a lot in what refers to Shopping Tourism, generating many jobs and a very important impact for the country and Tourism, as was said.
At the same time, additionally to the shopping centers we know how important Shopping Tourism of Products with Cultural Identity is for Argentina, not only in Buenos Aires but for the entire country where due to its large extension every village has its own identity and represents it in some special way.

In the case of Buenos Aires tango, soccer, music, are some of the thousands of things that a tourist can find when walking through the streets of the micro center of through the district of La Boca, on top of its fairs of artisanal products such as that of San Telmo. Shopping activities that are in turn spiced with good food and wine. On the other hand, there’s many other regions with unique and characteristic aspects in Argentina such as Bariloche and the amount of products of identity such as the chocolate of Bariloche, the cathedrals handmade by artisans, keychains of snowboards, ski and thousands of products sold in other regions of this great country.

Argentina is a clear example of how both pillars of Shopping Tourism coexist, on one hand the large investment made in the city with transnational products and on the other hand that mysticism which makes the products of cultural identity that a tourist would undoubtedly wish to take as a souvenir of this great country.


Just like in Argentina, in Chile a lot has been invested in Shopping Tourism, especially of transnational products, there’s the big shopping malls such as the Costanera Center, Parque Arauco, Alto Las Condes, also famous streets such as Alonso de Córdova and Nueva Costanera in Vitacura, where more exclusive products that can’t be found in any other part of the city can be found.

The largest mall in size is the Costanera Center that counts with more than 300 commercial locals open for the client. It’s also the highest building in Latin America and one can go up to the highest point, called Sky Costanera, where one can have a panoramic 360° view of the entire city of Santiago.

The mall Parque Arauco can also be visited, localized in the commune of Las Condes it counts with similar shops as the Costanera Center, but it has an open-air boulevard with different types of restaurants and open-air activities.

We see the tendency of rapidly growing Tourism in recent years, the importance of shopping centers in this country so commercially rich is due to this. It’s worth highlighting that Chile is a country with liberal economic politics and good ties to the USA, due to which it is common to see many brands of this country present in Chile and for very good prices as its taxes aren’t high.

On the other side Tourism of Cultural Identity is important for those who seek something more alternative, there are the shops of independent designers in Barrio Lastarria and Barrio Italia. Both sectors unite a large amount of young entrepreneurs that dedicate themselves to independent design and antiquities. There’s also restaurants and cafés with an own style.

If you’re interested in buying typical Chilene products and handicraft, various places to visit exist. The two most famous are the Pueblito de los Dominicos in Las Condes (metro Los Dominicos) and the artisanal fair of Cerro San Lucía, in the center of Santiago. In both it’s possible to find a large variety of handicraft such as wool clothing, furniture in wicker basket from Chimbarongo, Mapuche looms or pots of Pomaire clay, among many other options. There’s also the artisanal fair of Pío Nono, in the district of Bellavista, a good place for buying products of cultural identity.

Author: Lucas Cestau