William Law - Apr 12, 2010

After the earthquake of 27th February, Chile has been hit not only by an earthquake and tsunami, yet also by the disastrous aftermath in tourism. Despite the damage not being so severe, tourists are still scared and continue to cancel trips.


Despite the seeming enormity of the earthquake, which hit Chile at the end of February this year, 90% of the country was actually untouched. Many local services remained intact despite the unfortunate events. However, the lack of destruction was of no interest to journalists and reporters. Therefore, they naturally focused on the damage caused, which actually did more damage to Chile’s image. In fact, just the central region of Chile was affected and a few nature reserves.

The earthquake and ensuing tsunami affected the coastal areas, which are seldom visited by foreigners. The only damage foreigners tend to see is visible in the cracked ceilings and floors at Santiago airport. This tends to leave a bad first impression in the eyes of incomers. Amendments to baggage reclaim arrangements have had to be made and the airport’s facilities have become less effective.

However, the airport itself does not explain why half of travelers to Chile this year have cancelled hotel reservations and 30% have cancelled their trips altogether for April. The reason is the panic the media is still stirring up by constantly showing images of the damage, not letting on that the damage is minimal and not letting on that there is no longer a state of catastrophe on purpose to make the story more dramatic. This is a disaster for a nation in desperate need of reconstruction even before the events of February.

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  1. Thankyou for a very realistic appraisal of the earthquake situation.As a country we are working hard to reconstuct the areas that were hit by the earthquake and provide the resources families and communities need to get back on their feet again. Chile is a wonderful and incredibly long country and there are so many fascinating places to visit, people to meet and experiences to be lived. The port of Valparaíso (World Heritage Site) has just hosted the Bicentennial Tall Ship Regatta on its way to Mexico. This is the first time an event like this has taken place in South America and the hills of Valparaiso provided a unique setting for last Sunday’s breathtaking Parade of Sail, as 11 Tall Ships said their farewell to the port under a clear sky and a temperature of 20°C. Very few visitors from abroad were around to witness this memorable occasion!
    As a provider of nature walks and tours in the Valparaiso region, I really would like to enthuse travellers to re schedule their original trips and not miss out on a very welcoming country, an incredible biodiversity of landscapes, some very special flora and a truckload of unique experiences!


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