Global research firm Business Monitor International (BMI) has highlighted Chile’s appeal as a travel destination and says the tourism sector has “strong potential for growth”.
In its Chile Tourism Report for the third quarter of 2010, the BMI cites the healthy Chilean economy as a major factor bringing foreign visitors to the country, calling it a “regional lynchpin of economic growth.”
New initiatives such as a national system of quality certification have also attracted overseas travelers, says the report, and make Chile stand out from its neighboring countries.
Its “stable political environment” has enabled sustained expansion in the sector, building a tourist infrastructure that is exceptional in the surrounding region.
One of the main regions of growth is coastal city Viña del Mar, the “Garden City” as it is popularly known, located 120km west of the capital, Santiago.
The study also mentions La Serena in the north of Chile, with its beautiful beaches and colonial buildings, and Pucón, near Lake Villarica in the Lakes District. The three cities are becoming “key international destinations”, it says.
Neighboring Argentina is the top entry point for foreign visitors coming into Chile, with numerous passes crossing the long spine of the Andes.
The report notes that the Chilean government has successfully raised the country’s profile with travelers from regions further afield, especially Europe.
Chile’s more unusual, special-interest destinations – such as cutting-edge ecotourism resorts in Patagonia in the South – have been a special pull for visitors.