Tango for Profit.

Author:Hinchberger, Bill
Position:Brief Article

SEPARATED AND LEFT WITH TWO CHILDREN, LINA ACUNA PONDERED two things: How to earn a living and what to do with those extra rooms in her two-story home in the historic district of San Telmo. A European couple, tango aficionados both, suggested she open her house to tourists because of the chronic shortage of affordable hotel rooms in Buenos Aires.

That was three years ago. Today, her home figures as a key link in an international network of tango devotees who make periodic pilgrimages to visit the Mecca of their obsession. Some of Acuna's hardcore guests stay as long as seven months, heading nightly to a different "milonga"--tango dances in seedy clubs that dot the city. Svelte tango teachers and 50 something business people keep the Tango Guest House booked two months in advance. She already has reservations for 2000. And it's no wonder business is brisk: The number of tourists visiting Buenos Aires has jumped from 1.3 million in 1993 to 4.5 million in 1997.


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