Argentinian tourism chiefs have approached budget carrier Norwegian about starting low fare flights from the UK.

The country’s tourism minister Gustavo Santos revealed that talks were underway with the airline about serving Buenos Aires from Gatwick.

It is not know how receptive Norwegian has been to the idea but the carrier has ambitions to expand its affordable flights to other parts of the world using an increasing fleet of new Boeing 787 Dreamliners.

Its ‘Norwegian UK’ subsidiary set up last year allows the airline to access traffic rights to potential new markets in Asia, Africa and South America as part of ambitions to become a global low-cost carrier.

Santos, in London this week for World Travel Market, revealed that progress has been made in discussions with Norwegian to open the London-Buenos Aires route from late 2017.

He also met his UK counterpart Tracey Crouch at Westminster to stress the importance of improving connectivity between the two countries and to step up bilaterial co-operation.

“Without connectivity there can be no tourism,” said Santos, who also held meetings with operators Journey Latin America, Cox and Kings, Audley Travel and Airbnb. 

 Passengers flying from the UK to Argentina have increased by 7% this year but Santos wants to boost numbers by increasing the number of flights.

Spanish carrier Air Europa announced last July that it would be running four flights a week connecting London and Cordoba from next month.

Other initiatives unveiled include plans to eliminate VAT on accommodation for foreign tourists visiting Argentina which would cut travel costs by a claimed 21%. Discounts would also be available for travellers making more than three connecting flights in the country.

Santos predicted a spike in figures from 5.7 million to 9 million overall tourist arrivals by 2020, helped along by improving international and domestic connectivity, investment in infrastructure and the development of ecotourism.

Carlos Sersale di Cerisano, Argentine ambassador to the UK, said: “Behind the word ‘tourism’ there is an industry that provides us with 7% of our GDP and employs one million people.”