June 11, 2010
According to a recent Report from the respected Pacific Asia Travel Association, (PATA), Chile presents promising perspectives of sustained growth for this and the upcoming new year. The study revealed that, after having had a 1.1% contraction in 2009, the Chilean economy is expected to grow by 1.5% in 2010 and by 3.2% in 2011. The internal tourism numbers reached 3.5 million in January of 2009, which represented a growth of 8% over the previous year.
With high inflation on neighboring Argentina, many Argentine nationals are increasingly flocking into Chile’s numerous and varied tourism destinations, filled with diverse natural and cultural attractions, stability and a sound economy. The three main travel destinations in Chile, the Regions of Viña del Mar; La Serena and Pucán, have all posted strong growth figures on the recent seasons. Realizing the immense potential of tourism as an economic activity and generator of highly diversified opportunities of employment, the Government of Chile, through its official Agency for Tourism, the Servicio Nacional de Turismo de Chile, SERNATUR, has launched a Tourism Action Plan to promote the industry’s growth in the domestic and international markets.
Long-term growth depends particularly on attracting tourists from the main international, markets, namely North America, Europe and the Asia-Pacific Region. The Action Plan targets at increasing tourist arrivals from 2.5 million in 2007, to 3 million in 2010. However, the primary focus will be the promotion of the country’s diversity and competitive advantages in the overseas markets. This includes an increase on special interest tourism; the development of Certification and Quality Systems and Seals and implementing a new tourism legislation, aimed at creating facilities and incentives for tourism development.
Ecotourism and special interest destinations have been vital for the development of Chile as a growing travel destination. From the highly scenic Patagonian Regions to the entirely different but equally outstanding beauty of the Northern desert regions, Chile offers a host of characteristics, sufficient to attract more and more travelers to enjoy varied and enriching voyage experiences. Investment in the accommodations segment, including the addition of more luxury facilities; together with improvement in all the forms of transportation and professional staff training are factors which enhance the modernization of the tourism sector, which then becomes more competitive and demanded on the international markets. Investment has also focused on adding new attractions to the already ample portfolio of travel destinations within Chile. Spas and resorts are growing and replacing (and modernizing), the traditional thermal centers.
Chile’s business environment is considered one of the most open and transparent in Latin America. Business friendly policies, together with a strong and efficient legal framework and a solid government commitment to attract foreign investment, creates a most favorable climate for the development of tourism, now recognized as a strategic economic activity for the country. In spite of its huge geographic length and varied geography and landscapes, Chile enjoys a physical infrastructure which rivals with the one of many developed countries. This is a major asset to the country’s business climate, which also favors tourism development. With such and outlook, Chile stands firmly to be one of Latin America’s most popular and highly developed travel destinations.