Tourism industry in Chile has been quite successful over the last decades. The positive results can be attributed to Chile’s strong economy, political stability and stunning beauty. Chile has established standard package tours and hotels. Growing number of eco-tourism companies are focusing on the opportunities offered by tourism, with strive to protect the environment, take tourists to more remote destinations, and create exciting outdoor experiences.
At the moment, tourism accounts for about 3% of the economy. Medium and small businesses are working towards expanding their infrastructure in order to accommodate the increasing number of arrivals.
From January to August 2013, Chile received about 2.35 million tourists of foreign origin. This figure represents a decline of 1.1% as compared to what was recorded in 2012 over the same period. Overall, the total number of foreign tourists in 2012 hit 3.5 million. Despite a slight decrease, the results were still good. The number of foreign visitors over the last two consecutive years has been more than 2.3 million, the highest number over the last six years. As compared to 2008, this year’s numbers indicate an increase of 40%.
2012 was excellent for Chile’s tourism sector as evidenced by an increase in the international tourism arrivals. The institutions mandated with promotion of tourism in the region have now focused on meeting a target of over 4 million foreign tourists in 2014. This will increase the contribution to GDP by 6 percent.
Most tourists visiting Chile come from the neighboring countries. However, the growth potential for this sector lies mainly in attracting tourists from outside the region. Arrivals of Brazilian, Peruvian, American and Argentinean tourists dominated the statistics. Others include the Belizeans, and Colombians. The number of European tourists increased by 3 percent due to massive arrivals of Spanish and French travelers. In the last years, the arrivals from North America and Europe were decreasing due to international economic crisis.
Chile is known for a lot of natural attractions and is well-placed in terms of exploiting the currently emerging trends towards eco-tourism and adventure holidays. The government is supportive of its tourism, with realistic goals towards increasing tourist numbers. Presently, the sector represents over 302,500 jobs.
The country has also recently invested in resorts and hotel groups in different parts of the country. New laws have been passed to allow up to three casinos in every region throughout Chile.
Challenges of the Tourism Industry
The steady increase over the last few years has posed major challenge to Chile. The increase in the number of arrivals has mounted pressure on the available services, thus calling for expansion of accommodation and other tourism facilities. This will entail upgrading of Chile’s overall infrastructure, culture, sport, security and enact more policies that will ensure stable governance. Tourism is one of the main long-term priorities towards developing Chilean economy over the coming years. The steady trend over the past years is a clear indication that the industry remains relevant to Chile’s national agenda in terms of economic development.