New figures show Chile’s tourism is booming, and in new and exciting ways. The latest report shows record increases in both overland and air travel by Chileans, as well as an increase in the number of foreigners visiting the country’s shores during the early months of 2014.
A total of 9.2 million Chileans made trips across the country this summer, all paying for accommodation at their chosen destination — an increase compared to the same period last year, when only 8.5 million countrymen journeyed to holiday destinations in Chile. This comprised an eight percent raise in overland flow and a nine percent rise in air travel.
Foreign tourists also visited the Andean nation in droves. Around 850,000 people made a trip to Chile from countries spanning the world over, mapping an increase of 1.2 percent in comparison to the same period last year.
Chile’s Undersecretary of Tourism, Javier Montes, praised the positive statistics, claiming that the healthy numbers are boosting new enterprises and contributing to the development of local and sustainable tourism.
“Around 58 percent of the locations chosen by Chileans had rates above average for employment, with La Serena recording 90 percent, Coquimbo 91.6 percent, and Valle de Elqui 90 percent.” He said. “Chile’s tourism service (Sernatur) is encouraged by this positive scenario and we will continue to work hard to develop tourism in the country and further promote tourist attractions.”
According to Sernatur, the number of foreign visitors rose by 1.2 from 2013, with January recording +1.2 percent and February showing +1.1 percent.
Argentines were the most frequent visitors from outside Chile throughout the summer months of 2014 with 383,842 arrivals, accounting for 45 percent of all visits during the period.
More European tourists also decided to travel to the country. The same period witnessed a total of 93,897 arrivals from the continent, with the largest increase in visitors compared to previous seasons coming from: Spain (+10.1 percent), Germany (+4.3 percent), and France (+1.9 percent).
Montes predicted that over 3.6 million people will be arriving in Chile for the rest of 2014 while the government, under newly elected President Michelle Bachelet, will be working to develop tourism infrastructure for the coming years.
“Our efforts will focus on the development of tourism at national level and we will be supporting entrepreneurship in Chile’s tourism sector while seeking further investment,” he said. “It is also a priority to enhance sustainable development and to improve air and ground transportation.”