August 4, 2010
The National Tourism Service of Chile, SERNATUR, forecasted a substantial increase, particularly on the internal tourism in the country, during the present Winter Vacation Season, 2010. It is expected that some 2.3 million voyagers will travel to the country’s most demanded winter destinations such as the Skiing and Thermal Resorts. The main destinations will be those located on the Andes, the Metropolitan Region of Chile (Santiago) and the Central coast, between Algarrobo, La Serena and Coquimbo.
According to SERNATUR officials, the travel sector is demonstrating clear signals of recovery. For example, the sales of domestic air tickets for the season’s vacation period has increased on a 20% as compared with 2009. These are good news for the travel industry. The international travelers demand is also showing improvement and many visitors are rapidly filling the Ski Resorts and other popular winter sports venues. The beginning of the season in July started with an increase of 10% in ticket sales to the skiing resorts and a growth of 14% over 2009, of the revenues and income produced by the travel activities, just at the season’s kick-off this year.
The most emblematic Ski Resorts, as well as several of the new and technically advanced skiing enclaves more recently developed, are booming at this time and the activity is intense on them. Locations like the pioneer Portillo Skiing Center, as well as Valle Nevado, Chillán and Pucón Resorts are the epicenter of intense action for the local and international travelers attracted by the beauty of the mountains and the adrenaline of snow and other related winter sports, as well as the soothing effects of relaxation on Spas and mountain resorts.
A big element of attraction for national and international visitors was the total solar eclipse, spectacularly viewed from Easter Island, last July. This astronomical event rapidly filled more than 97% of the Hotel occupancy in the Island, which brought in much appreciated income and revenues for the local outfitters, the Island and the nation’s economy.
Another event which attracted large numbers of visitors, mainly nationals, was the traditional Fiesta to the Virgin of La Tirana, a colorful and picturesque religious celebration, which takes place every year in July, bringing this time some 220.000 visitors, much higher than last year, to the splendid wine country area of Tarapaca, according to the tourism authorities. The festivity features more than 15.000 dancers in colorful costumes, recreating an antique tradition, which is complemented with musical, artistic, cultural, sports and gastronomic events which present the best of the national cuisine and its delicacies as well as the tastings of the area’s renowned wines.
The notoriously increased figures, as compared with the same period in 2009, are attributed to a positive, yet still slow, recovery of the tourism activities in Chile, also enhanced this year by the nation-wide frame of celebrations to commemorate the country’s Bicentennial of Independence….