BUENOS AIRES – President Mauricio Macri took a break from his vacation on Wednesday to inaugurate a visitor and environmental education center in southern Argentina.
“I never tire of being surprised at the beautiful things we have in Argentina. This is a unique country,” Macri said.
Argentina is “an inexhaustible source of places that have to be seen: lakes, mountains, forests, glaciers, waterfalls and deserts,” the president said during the opening of the Tourism and Environmental Information and Interpretation Center in Villa Traful, a town in the southern province of Neuquen.
The project, which is part of a federal government program being financed by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), cost 14.7 million pesos (about $933,000) and is in the Corredor de Los Lagos, making it an “important tourism resource for the region,” government officials told EFE.
The project’s goal is to modernize tourist facilities in the area and welcome visitors to an open building available to the entire community to showcase the province’s attractions, officials said.
Macri said the visitor center would ensure that tourism “will be a great engine” for “generating jobs” and “reducing poverty” in Argentina.
The federal government has invested 10 billion pesos (nearly $635 million) in Neuquen, building 200 kilometers (124 miles) of roads, 30 daycare centers and 2,000 public housing units, Macri said.
The president said Argentina was “finishing a hard, difficult year,” and he invited his countrymen to “move forward” with hope.
“In 2017, we’re going to grow,” Macri said.
The president wished citizens a happy new year, telling them to have “a good time with your families.”
The event was marred by a group of about 10 people who threw stones at the president’s vehicle as it headed for the visitor center, but no one was injured in the incident, the Office of the President said.
Macri and his family traveled to Neuquen over the weekend for a vacation that will end on Jan. 8.