Spetter, C.V.; Fernández, E.M.; Speake, M.A.; Abasto, B.; Carbone, M.E.; Garzón Cardona, J.E.; Fernández Severini, M.D., and Martinez, A.M., 2023. Indirect effects on tourism and water quality along the Argentinian Atlantic Coast during COVID-19 pandemic scenarios. Journal of Coastal Research, 39(5), 970–983. Charlotte (North Carolina), ISSN 0749-0208.
The coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic forced governments to make drastic decisions, mainly about isolation and social distance. In 2020, the lockdown in Argentina lasted 37 days in the entire national territory and up to 280 days in some jurisdictions. The tourism activity at the beginning of the summer season raised questions regarding the influx of tourists and the impact of new security measures on the environment. In this work, different probable scenarios are discussed, including a pandemic expected before the summer season, what eventually happened, and how it could have impacted tourism and the water quality of the Argentine Atlantic Coast. A survey was carried out via Google during October–November 2020. The data (2017–2021) on tourist influx statistics for eight coastal destinations were analyzed. A literature review (2020–2022) was carried out, and the probable loads of nutrients, organic compounds, emergent contaminants, and other solid wastes (such as plastics) were evaluated. The results showed that the neutral scenario was the predominant one. Despite the decrease in the arrival of tourists to the Argentine Atlantic coastal destinations studied, there was a disposition of the population to travel and a strong preference for sun-and-beach tourism compared to other tourist modalities. In a pandemic scenario, the concern in coastal management is centered on the need to adapt wastewater treatment plants in coastal tourist areas to minimize the impact of liquid effluents as well as the proper management of urban solid waste. In addition, a set of potentially useful strategies for global environmental sustainability is proposed.