TRAVEL

Chile registers biggest increase in tourist visits in Latin America

SANTIAGO – In its report World Travel Market (WTM) Latin America research firm Euromonitor International registered a 10.6% increase of tourists coming to Chile in 2017. This translates into around 5 million international travelers, according to Euromonitor analyst  Rocio Guzman.

Chile therefore enjoys the biggest increase in visitors in the region, followed by Colombia (10.2%) and Mexico (9.4%). The latter is top regarding total number of tourists with 36 million, followed by Brazil with 6.4 million. Guzman expressed that one reason for this growth is that the country won the Best Destination for Adventure Tourism – one of the most coveted World Travel Awards – for the second year in a row. Besides, the National Tourism Service (Sernatur in its Spanish acronym), implemented an aggressive international marketing plan, trying to attract more visitors from Europe, the United States, Argentina, Brazil and Colombia.

It is estimated that over 3 million visitors came from Argentina last year and 462.000 from Bolivia. Monica Zalaquett, sub-secretary of tourism, said the increase results from a combined public and private effort that includes international promotion and the signing of treaties that favor tourism. Three from Chilean cities count among the top 20 most visited Latin American cities in 2017: Santiago, Valparaiso-Viña del Mar and Arica. Meanwhile, among the top 10 Latin American cities with the biggest growth percentage of visitors last year were six Chilean destinations: Concepción, La Serena, Pucón, Puerto Montt-Osorno, Coyhaique and Valparaiso-Viña del Mar.

“The low-cost way of travelling has encouraged traveling to other cities in the country, said Guzman. Christian Meeks, commercial manager of Cross Selling Chile-Peru said that “From January to March of this year there’s been 13% more tourists than in the same months of last year.” He added, “We observed a big increase of Brazilians (32%) and Colombians (80%). However, Argentinians prevail, even though their increase was of only 8%.” Among the preferred cities are Iquique, Viña del Mar, La Serena, Puerto Montt and Puerto Varas. In terms of the total number of visitors, Valparaiso-Viña del Mar received 1.399.000 tourists last year, followed by Puerto Montt-Osorno with 681.000, Pucón with 598.000, and Coyhaique with 185.000.

“Today we’re better hosts and we encourage a return. We’ve increased our hospitality, gastronomy and entertainment. We’re measured as a region, Viña del Mar and Valparaiso are not sold individually, they come together, just like Casablanca with its wine business,” said Rodrigo Rozas, president of Viña del Mar’s Commerce and Tourism Chamber.

Meanwhile, Arturo Della Torre, president of Concepción’s Commerce and Tourism Chamber, considered that the increase of flights has also influenced the positive statistics. “Before, we only had two airlines and today we have three that are permanent, while the flights are less expensive, so more people are coming to visit the city itself and other zones of this region like Dichato, Pingueral and Lake Lanalhue.”

 

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