Chile received a total of 3.5 million foreign tourists in 2012, a 13% hike over the year before and an all-time record. The 13% gain far outpaced the 6% increase that Latin America scored as a whole last year, Chile's deputy secretary for tourism, Jacqueline Plass, said.
In two years we've gone from 2.7 million tourists to 3.5 million. The country hasn't seen such a growth rate since the year 2005, when tourist arrivals increased by 13.4%, she said.
According to the report, Argentina was the chief source of tourists visiting Chile in 2012, with a share of close to 40%, no less than a 23% increase over 2011.
Brazil had an 11% share and was up 14.3%, the report said, adding that the number of tourists from Colombia climbed 18.6% and from Australia, 37.3%. The increase from other South American countries was 15.2% while tourists from Asia also were up, 15%.
However from Europe the increase was only 4.5% with the Spaniards leading with an increase in numbers of 12% and Germany, 9%. North America was also modest, 4.3% with 3.3% in the case of the US, 6.3% Mexico and 6.8% Canada.
One of this year's projects, Plass said, will be to work at attracting vacationers from Canada and Mexico, to get them on the list of Chile's leading sources of foreign tourists.
The goal, according to Plass, is to bring forward to 2013 the target of 4 million tourists, a number previously estimated for the end of 2014.