Chile’s thermal hot springs join forces to soak up more guests

The new association Chile Termas wants 1 million visitors by 2015.

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From the North to the South, Chile’s diverse geography is dotted with thermal hot springs perfect for a relaxing bath in therapeutic waters.

Already 700,000 people visit Chile’s hot spring resorts each year. Now 16 hot springs Chile have joined a new touristic product club that hopes to grow the number of visitors to 1 million by 2015.

Called Chile Termas, the group will have a unified strategy to ensure product quality and to increase international visibility.

At present, most users of Chilean hot springs are Chileans themselves, but nine percent are Europeans, three percent are from the U.S., and the remaining five percent come from other South American countries, according to Chilean daily newspaper El Mercurio.

Hot springs are said to have curative properties, thanks to their high temperatures and mineral content. Their geothermally heated ground waters come from the earth’s crust.

By year end the association could boast 30 member spas and by 2011 it aims to have a total of 120 members, including operators and hotels.

The project is being run by the EuroChile Business Foundation and financed by the Chilean Economic Development Agency (CORFO) and the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF), administered by the Inter-American Development Bank.