Chile named fastest-growing tourist destination in South America

The Andean nation enjoyed 15 percent more tourists during the first six months of 2012 compared to the same period of 2011.

The South American Hotel & Tourism Investment Conference (SAHIC) recently identified Chile as the fastest growing tourism destination in South America.

SAHIC is being held in Lima, Peru on September 10–11. The conference, which took place in Santiago last year, is an annual event that creates a space to promote investment and business opportunities in the hotel, tourism, and real estate-related industries of South America.
Statistics show that Chile enjoyed the fastest growth in the number of tourists visiting during the first semester of 2012. The country received a 15 percent boost in the number of visitors during the first six months of the year compared to last year over the same period, which puts Chile at the top of tourism growth in the South American region.
Over 3 million tourists visited Chile over the course of 2011, according to the Chilean government. This number represents an 11 percent growth in the number of visitors to the country compared to the previous year.
Chile’s popularity as an international tourism destination is growing for a variety of reasons. The country’s world-renowned skiing and snowboarding opportunities are a major draw, in addition to its unique landscape and outdoor adventure opportunities.
Major press attention from international news outlets have also boosted Chile’s popularity over the past year. Santiago was named the number one tourist destination of 2011 by The New York Times, and the publication also highlighted Chiloé and the Chilean Patagonia in its article on the 45 Places to Go in 2012.
According to Arturo García Rosa, President of SAHIC, inter-regional travel is also boosting tourism in South American countries like Chile.
“South America continues to rank first in terms of the rise in international tourist arrivals worldwide. This growth is also supported by a strong inter-regional demand from such countries as Chile, Peru, Colombia, and Brazil, whose economies in turn are enjoying good health and a steady expansion,” he said.