In the Chilean cities of Osorno and Puerto Montt, the local chambers of commerce have asked that requirements for Argentine tourism arriving by air be simplified.
Both entities have announced they were preparing a new set of promotions to lure foreign travellers.
Following the announcement by the Chilean government about the reopening of the borders as of October 1, the Puerto Montt Chamber of Commerce and Tourism has asked national authorities to simplify the requirements for Argentines travelling into that country.
With land crossing still out of the question, the Patagonian businessmen want the Puerto Montt airport added to those of Santiago, Iquique and Antofagasta as gateways into the country. Many of our tourists come from Bariloche. Or they are from Buenos Aires, but they stop visiting Bariloche and from there, they visit us, said Eduardo Salazar, president of the Puerto Montt Chamber of Commerce and Tourism.
One of the requests made from that entity is that people can come with a PCR from their country of origin and when they arrive, another one is carried out, he added.
The idea is that they do not have to be isolated for five days. If not, economically, it will not suit the tourist. People come for a few days, said Salazar, who also chairs the Chilean Tourism and Gastronomy Association.
Rodrigo Ibáñez, head of the Osorno Chamber of Tourism, agreed on the need to reopen land borders. The flow of tourists through the Cardenal Samoré pass is very large. Only with the entry by air, we are going to continue to be complicated. The dollar does not favour much and even less so if entry is only by the airport. We are asking to enable, at least, a closer airport like Puerto Montt, he said.
We have invested in biosafety, today we have very few cases and a strict protocol. We are confident of receiving the Argentines but we cannot get the authorities to follow the same line, he added.
He also highlighted the importance of one-day trips. The flow of Argentines that we registered was enormous. We had a lot of shopping tourism that crossed just for a few hours. Or they came to compare supermarkets. They left with their cars loaded with appliances, clothes, food, he recalled.
Regarding sanitary restrictions, the Chilean consul in Bariloche, Luciano Parodi, warned that the authorities are very cautious in the face of any spread of the threat of the Delta variant.
Parodi insisted the reopening of the borders was only for those who need to travel. If we continue to take care of ourselves, doing tests at the points of entry and advancing with vaccination, in a few months the tourist movement will be able to return, he went on.