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Chile targets tourism as third most important sector of the economy by 2020

Thursday, September 22nd 2011 - 21:57 UTC
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From the moonscape deserts of Atacama to the fjords of Patagonia, Chile has much to offer From the moonscape deserts of Atacama to the fjords of Patagonia, Chile has much to offer

The new campaign by Chile’s National Tourism Service (Sernatur) aims to make tourism the third largest sector of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) by 2020. The campaign will be launched on Jan. 1, 2012.

Tourism in Chile currently accounts for 5% of the GDP. The tourism industry has been built on Chile’s diversity of natural landscapes -- from the moonscape deserts of Atacama to the fjords of the Patagonia -- which have lent it a reputation as a premier adventure destination.

Chile’s high level of infrastructure, security and stable governance have also been a key feature in making it an attractive destination for international tourists and a distinguishing feature among other Latin American countries.

International media attention drawn by the 8.8 earthquake in February 2010, however, has threatened the perception of Chile as a safe destination.

The new strategy will attempt to allay these concerns and capitalize on the high level of positive media attention drawn by the rescue of the 33 trapped miners in October last year. The plan will include upgrading infrastructure in scenic regions like Arica, Easter Island and Antarctica.

However, Sernatur will have to strike a balance between furthering industry and fostering an image of sustainability.

Sernatur’s campaign aims to expand on “eco” and adventure tourism, fundamental elements of Chile’s successful marketing approach of the last decade, by creating a new environmental certification process.

Part of that approach will be encouraging small businesses and entrepreneurs in the tourism industry to apply for certification to meet ecological standards.

The campaign’s priority markets include Argentina, Brazil, the United States, Spain, Germany, England and France, countries that represent 65% of tourism revenue.

Sernatur also identified strategic markets in Canada, Mexico, Colombia, Peru, Italy, Australia and Japan, and potential markets in Ecuador, Venezuela, Bolivia, Uruguay, South Africa, Singapore, Israel, China and New Zealand.

Sernatur hopes its plan will help achieve the short-term generation of 40,000 direct and 160,000 indirect jobs, and attract up to 4 million foreign tourists in 2015. Tourism has witnessed sustained growth over the last decade, including an increase of 7.6% in 2008.

By Joe Hinchliffe (editor@santiagotimes.cl) - The Santiago Times

 

 

Categories: Tourism, Latin America.

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