Federico Magri speaks about El Bolsón, Patagonia, Argentina
It wasn’t easy to track Federico Magri down for this interview. Firstly, the founder of El Bolsón Trekking spends a lot of time exploring the beautiful areas of his beloved El Bolsón and secondly, he is a soft-spoken, reserved, and private person who doesn’t like speaking about himself. As tourism in Argentina sees steady growth, Federico is one of the people who can provide a rare glimpse into a special tourism segment that attracts travelers who are looking for something truly unique:
Thank you for taking some time out of your busy day for us. You have managed to create a huge following on social media among nature lovers. Could you tell us a bit more about the area of El Bolsón?
Of course, that is one area that I can talk about for hours. I have been exploring the region for many years and I never tire of it. Patagonia is a landmass that has such interesting geology. Surrounded by three oceans, the Pacific, Atlantic, and the Southern Ocean, 10% of it lies in Chile and 90% in Argentina. El Bolsón lies at the foot of Piltriquitron Mountain, Rio Negro Province and has an unusually mild climate. Nature lovers never tire of trekking and hiking in the forests and mountains of this scenic area with its panoramic vistas of valleys and rivers. Due to its lower elevation and milder climate, it offers itself to a longer trekking season and some shelters are open all year round.
You have over 300,000 followers, a big number for the region of Latin America. According to two studies at prestigious U.S. universities tourism has increased by 30% to the area because of this. How did you manage to successfully combine your love for the region with technology?
I wanted to convey my passion for the beauty and vastness of El Bolsón, including its wonderful community in a natural and real way in order to reach nature lovers everywhere. I decided to further my studies by taking courses at the Universities of Texas and Boston. These included marketing, social network studies and psychology and they gave me the tools and resources that I needed to connect with like-minded people and to communicate my passion to them. My desire has always been to motivate people to enjoy the outdoors and hopefully this is what I have managed to achieve.
Image credit: El Bolsón trekking
What has this increase in visitors meant for the people of El Bolsón?
The people in the area are hard working and are very proud to show off all the magnificent things that they produce and create for the visitors who spend a few days in the town before or after trekking in the region. Economically, they feel that tourism has uplifted them and it has helped to generate more work and a wonderful exchange of goods and services. Our farmers work their land and raise their livestock keeping the ecological preservation of the environment in mind, and then we have crafters of some delightful confections, beers, and arts.
What do you think made this particular campaign so successful?
That’s hard for me to say. What I aimed to do was show the activities that the region offers. These include trekking, mountain biking, horseback riding, and rafting. Perhaps the success was in the way these were portrayed, especially the way the message about our concern for the environment for a region that has a particular character and beauty. This showcased the area of El Bolsón to people all over the world, and amazingly to people who live even closer who had never considered coming here.
What is the target market of your social media campaign?
It is everybody that loves being in nature. Many people have a vision of loners with backpacks traipsing through the region, but our followers come from all walks of life and include some people that one would usually envision as glamorous tourists only. The beauty of nature is always the biggest winner as far as nature tourism is concerned.
It was lovely meeting you and we thank you for your time. In parting, would you care to comment on the news that you are giving some influential people in Argentina, including two international soccer starts, advice on their social media management?
Thank you for your interest in El Bolsón, an area that I care so much about. As for the rest, well let’s just say that I prefer to keep other aspects of my life private.