Foreign tourism in Chile registered a 92.6% drop year-to-year in the first quarter of 2021, according to a study published Sunday bu the journal Barómetro del Turismo (Tourism Barometer), released by the government's Tourism Undersecretariat and the National Tourism Service (Sernatur).
The report showed that 79,990 visitors arrived in the country during the stage, compared to 1,077,102 in the first three months of 2020.
Tourism Undersecretary José Luis Uriarte explained that such a low figure was to be expected given the context of the Covid-19 pandemic that continues to affect the world. He added that over 60 percent of world destinations remain totally or partially closed and restrictions on the entry of foreign visitors persist as a measure to control the spread of the virus.
Uriarte was also quoted as saying that it was expected that the vaccination process, the generation of consensual protocols and the lifting of sanitary restrictions can lead to the beginning of a recovery of travel in the second half of the year.
According to the journal, the number of Argentine tourists fell by 95.4%, (18,727 people against more than 410,000 in the first quarter of 2020).
Reductions between 90 and 99 percent were also reported in the arrival of travelers from Brazil, the United States, Canada, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Italy, Australia and China. Spain fell behind the 90% barrier with 88%, Mexico 86.2% and Colombia 40.5%
The report also notes that as a result of the pandemic, the sector's foreign exchange earnings plunged in 2020 by almost 80 percent, to just US $ 592 million, well below the 2.354 billion collected in 2019.
In addition to closing all borders and banning foreign tourists within the anticovid fight, Chile has began deporting migrants, making it even less attractive for incomers who planned to get through the borders as tourists and then change their status. Under the new legislation, they must now obtain a consular visa at the country of origin and these measures too may have had an additional impact on the number of foreign visitors allowed in as tourists, which is what the Barometer reflected.