Uruguay President Luis Lacalle Pou has met with Tourism Minister Germán Cardoso to formulate new plans that aim to mitigate the effects of the financial crisis caused by COVID-19.

One of the proposed measures arising from the meeting calls for the installation of two new integrated resorts in Rocha and Canelones. The Minister stated, however, that the development process will not be able to start until the health emergency is over. 

Uruguay tourism has been one of the most badly affected business sectors, a situation made worse by uncertainty about how and when local and international flights will restart. However, the ministry considers boosting the internal tourism industry as a first step, ultimately aiming to attract Brazilian and Argentinian tourists.

The draft for companies interested in bidding for the license in Canelones is already in the works and will be unveiled in the upcoming months. According to the ministry, the integrated resorts are likely to be near Atlántida beach, although other possibilities are yet to be ruled out.

The Uruguayan government is also considering deferring payments for the tourism sector and ‘extending unemployment insurance for workers.’

Earlier this month Luis Gama, former head of the National Directorate of Lotteries and Quinielas of Uruguay (DNLQ) told SBC Americas sister site SBC Noticias that Uruguay should get ready for Brazil’s casino industry, as the sector would lose a significant percentage of its visitors if the latter decided to allow its own legal casinos.

“We must not be oblivious to the developments that are taking place in our neighboring countries, especially the gambling legalization in Brazil. We should analyze the impact that it has in Uruguay and come up with policies to retain those players,” he stated.

“The new scenario will require a lot of effort not to perceive a decline in activity in those border and tourist places where the participation of foreign players is key to sustain the business.”