Andrea Hausold - May 16, 2021
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Chile recorded a drop of almost a million international tourist arrivals during the first quarter of 2021, a significant amount compared to 2020 figures.

According to data from the Tourism Barometer, reported by the Undersecretariat of Tourism and Chile’s National Tourism Service (SERNATUR), the travel restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic in many countries of the world are the main reason for a decline that, between January and March, resulted in the arrival of about 1 million fewer foreign visitors.

The barometer revealed that during the first quarter of 2021, almost one million fewer international tourist arrivals were recorded when compared to the 1,077,102 arrivals in that same period of 2020.

The data submitted by SERNATUR for January-March 2021 reported the arrival of 79,990 foreign tourists, which represents a decrease of 92.6% compared to the first quarter of 2020, or 997,112 tourists less.

The undersecretary of Tourism, José Luis Uriarte, explained that “these are expected figures, unfortunately, given the context of the pandemic that continues to affect the world. More than 60% of global destinations remain totally or partially closed, and entry restrictions for foreign visitors continue as a measure to contain the spread of the virus.”

Uriarte also added that “from the World Tourism Organization, it is expected that variables such as the vaccination process, the establishment of agreed protocols, and the lifting of sanitary regulations can lead to the beginning of a recovery in international travel in the second half of this year.”

In the first quarter of 2021, the most important tourist markets recorded declines in arrivals.

In Argentina, a strong source tourist market for Chile, the decrease during the first three months of 2021 stood at 95.4%, registering 18,727 tourists compared to 410,235 in the first quarter of 2020.

Meanwhile, Brazil showed a 94.2% fall for the same period, with just 4,339 tourists; while the United States drop reached 93.3%.

Other important markets that also registered declines were Canada (97.6%), Mexico (86.2%), Colombia (40.5%), Germany (96.3%), Spain (88.1%), France (95.9%), UK (99.1%), Italy (93%), Australia (99.7%) and China (94.9%).

The report also highlights a study on Chile’s inbound and outbound tourism 2020.

According to the report, the collapse of international travel over the pandemic resulted in a 79.9% drop in foreign exchange earnings from inbound tourism, totaling US$592 million for 2020, which is US$ 2.354 million lower than in 2019.

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