Record-breaking amount of travelers visit Chile

2012 saw a 13 percent bump in tourists visiting Chile, reaching 3.5 million international visitors during the year.

Despite a global economic slump, Chile saw a swell in international tourism within its borders in 2012. Members of Chile’s Tourism Ministry advised that the year had been the most successful for tourism in Chile’s history.

“During 2012 we received 3,468,475 foreign tourists, a number that reflects a 13 percent increase compared to 2011,” the National Director of Chile’s tourism board Sernatur Daniel Pardo said in an online statement.

“This corresponds to the largest growth rate in the last seven years,” he added.

The 13 percent increase in visitors to the Andean nation is especially impressive given that the growth of tourism to Latin America as a whole grew by just six percent during 2012. According to estimates by the World Tourism Organization, the amount of tourists across the world bumped up four percent during the year.

According to Pardo, several initiatives promoting Chile abroad are now having an impact on travel to the country.

“We are successfully impacting Chileans and foreigners with campaigns like Chile es TUYO and Chile Travel, as well as other new and innovative programs within and outside of Chile,” Pardo described.

One such initiative took the name of FeriaChileEs TUYO that reached 45,000 people domestically with the hopes of promoting national travelers. For international markets, Sernatur held a fair in New York City featuring dancers from Easter Island and displays about Chile’s different tourist attractions and important events throughout the year.

Of the more than three million international tourists who visited Chile in 2012, 39.7 were Argentinian, 10.8 percent hailed from Brazil and 10.3 percent came from Bolivia. With a 37.3 percent increase from the year before, Australians claimed the prize for the fastest growing group of international travelers to Chile reaching over 45,000 recorded visitors.

According to a study released in 2012, the burgeoning tourist industry in Chile employs around 273,495 workers nationally, about 3.7 percent of the work force. When compared to an earlier study from 2006, the ministry determined that jobs in tourism were growing by 1.76 percent annually.