Tourists from Argentina, Peru, Brazil and Bolivia flocked to Chile in hordes in 2012, accounting for most of the 14 percent increase in visitors to a total of 1.2 million in the first quarter.
During the first three months of the year, more than 150,000 more foreigners visited Chile than in the same period of 2011, and all of the nation’s regions received more tourists than last year, according to Undersecretary for Tourism Jacqueline Plass.
For the first time in three years, the number of European travelers increased, with a total of 157,000 tourists, 6 percent more than in 2011. European statistics were strengthened notably by the increasing number of tourists hailing from Germany (12 percent), France (6 percent) and Spain (14 percent).
The tourism office said that the number of North American tourists also increased during the first quarter of 2012 for the second consecutive year, with 73,000 visitors to Chile, 4 percent of the total. Mexican travelers represented 20 percent of visitors from North America.
Argentina, Brazil and Colombia experienced the biggest growth in tourism to Chile within South America, increasing the number of tourists sent by 24 percent, 20 percent and 36 percent, respectively. Argentina, which shares one of the world’s longest borders with Chile, sent over half a million tourists across the Andes.
February was the most dynamic month for tourism, Plass explained, with an increase of 27 percent, likely due to the arrival of 49 percent more Argentine tourists than in 2011.
Though March saw fewer visitors than January and February, tourism in the last month of the quarter also grew by 4 percent, primarily due to major events that month, including Lollapalooza Chile, the Santiago marathon and the Fidae International Air Show.
“The report’s positive figures are encouraging, and show that our promotional strategies underway in various markets are bearing fruit,” said Plass.