A survey of the tourism industry prepared by the Federation of Tourism Companies of Chile (FEDETUR), showed that 80.4% of businesses have reported cancellations of reservations, a figure that they estimate will stay on the rise as protests and riots continue. Thousands of students, unions, health professionals and teachers have been protesting in Santiago and other cities in Chile against economic inequalities in the country.
Of these reservations, 81.4% are short-term (1 to 7 days), 11.6% for reservations between 7 to 15 days, and the remaining 7% are those longer than 15 days.
Out of the establishments and different businesses that have had cancellations, 40% said that they are less than 10% of the total reservations, 20% that it was between 11-25% of the reservations, 17.8% between 25-50 % of reservations, and 22.2% said that cancellations exceed 51% of their total reservations.
The markets of origin with most cancellations are the US, Brazil, Spain, France and Great Britain.
Since October 18, Chile has experienced the worst violent conflicts over the last 30 years, linked to an outburst of popular anger that has resulted in protests and looting, despite the actions of conservative President Sebastian Piñera to appease the situation.
Sebastian Piñera has announced a 20% increase in the minimum pension, the freezing of electricity rates and a rise in the minimum wage. He also referred to the reduction in the salaries of parliamentarians and senior civil servants, coupled with the decrease in the number of seats in Parliament and a limitation of the number of their successive mandates. However, the record of the protests is already heavy and reported 18 dead, 269 injured and 1,900 arrests, according to the National Institute of Human Rights (NHRI).
In this sense, Ricardo Margulis, president of FEDETUR, called for calm and encourage companies and businesses to try to keep Chile’s tourism services running to the extent they can, in order to lessen the impact of the crisis as much as possible.
FEDETUR condemned the attacks suffered by some hotels, such as the one that affected the Principality of Asturias Hotel in Santiago a few days ago, which forced the staff of the premises and tourists alike to abandon the place.
“For Chile, and for us as an industry, it is essential that public order and normalcy be recovered as soon as possible,” said Margulis.
According to the association, tourism services throughout the country are functioning normally, and as for international visitors traveling to other regions of the country, they have modified their programs to go directly to their destinations, avoiding staying in Santiago.
Regarding what will happen to the APEC and the UN climate summits, Ricardo Margulis said that “so far, following what has been discussed with the authorities, both summits are still happening, which would be a good sign as long as the situation begins to normalize and that they can ensure their execution”.
Margulis also said that as an association they expect such events to be held, as well as the Copa Libertadores final, for which there is a high number of reservations and where good hotel occupancy rate is expected.
The tourism in the region of Los Rios has experienced a decline between 40 to 70% since the demonstrations began.
The percentage was delivered by the regional director of the National Tourism Service, Paulina Steffen, who explained that the affectation is due to a series of destination cancellations registered in October.