Uruguay upgraded its airport in Carmelo to accommodate international travelers visiting the southwestern city known for its wineries.
This will be Uruguay’s third international airport, the other two being Carrasco Airport in Montevideo and Laguna del Sauce in Punta Del Este.
The airport will “open Carmelo’s doors to the region and the world,” said Diego Arosa, CEO of Aeroportos Uruguay, at the facility’s innauguration.
As part of the expansion plan, the government has built a new passenger terminal, a duty-free shop and a winery.
Uruguay receives more than 3 million tourists annually, but the number fell sharply to less than 1 million in 2022. Tabaré Viera, Minister of Tourism, recently attributed the drop in foreign arrivals to a lack of flight connections.
“In 2017 we received 3.8 million tourists. Today, it is difficult to beat that record due to the flight connection failure,” he said in a radio interview.
Uruguay is also considering offering airlines incentives if they carry international passengers. “We would pay a premium to the airline for each additional passenger,” said the minister.
Montevideo‘s Carrasco International Airport is the only one in the country that offers year-round international connections for Uruguayans. The airport in Punta Del Este mainly serves seasonal flights, especially during the summer months.