August 5, 2011
Continuing with the sustained growth and increasing importance of most South American countries in the world of international travel, Chile made news in recent days by being voted as the third best developing country for Adventure Tourism in the world, 2010, closely behind Israel and the Slovak Republic. The nomination comes on the latest survey published by the Adventure Travel Development Index (ATDI). This Index is compiled and systematized by the Adventure Travel Trade Association; the George Washington University and the specialized firm, Vital Wave Consulting. The methodology for presenting this Index classifies countries, based on a variety of technical indicators, as "developed countries" and "developing countries". Then it ranks the countries according to ten pillars of Adventure Tourism Competitiveness. The ranking is based on principles of sustainable adventure tourism and is calculated by a combination of expert survey data and quantitative data gathered by international indexes.
Chile scored highest out of all developing countries in the categories of Sustainable Development; Safety; Nature Resources and Image as an Adventure Tourism destination. Chile also ranked higher than several top-ranked developed countries for its Image. The experts that conduct the survey classified Chile, for example, as having more Natural Resources than Canada and more Adventure Resources than New Zealand. Among the most recognized pillars of Chile for its current status and potential to become a "hot spot" as an Adventure Tourism destination are the nation's Safety records, which top those of its neighboring Latin American countries plus its Sustainable Development policies which have received priority investment for several years now. No wonder, the numbers of visitors to Chile have been increasing in the last years at a steady 1.9%.
The extremely long and narrow geography of Chile calls for a host of natural features and venues, ideal to practice just about all imaginable Adventure Tourism activities, such as trekking, mountaineering; horseback riding; rafting; cycling; kayaking; skiing; flying, surfing or scuba diving at stunning locations, from the arid desert of Atacama in northern Chile to the wild mountains and glaciers of Patagonia, as well as the isolated Easter Island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. The famous Torres del Paine National Park region in Patagonia features "EcoCamp Patagonia", the first fully sustainable accommodation in the area.
The ATDI considers three main axis to develop its classification: Safe and Welcoming: (sustainable development, safety, natural resources and health); Adventure: (entrepreneurship and adventure activity resources) and, Readiness: (humanitarian, cultural resources and image). The Institutions conducting the research indicate that the scores do not necessarily reflect the country's current popularity or numbers of visitors for adventure travel, but in some cases those factors may correlate. The ATDI was created to support entrepreneurs and governments who want to create and market sustainable tourism products and services for the benefit of communities and the environment.
This nomination enhances the growing popularity of Chile as a relatively new, greatly exciting, varied and adventure-filled travel destination at world level and will certainly contribute to increase the climbing numbers of visitors, particularly those with a soul for adventure travel.