With its sights set on revival of tourism to the country, the Chile Tourism Board, with help from other national entities, has put in place a number of projects and initiatives that will strengthen the country’s tourism offerings once the borders open for foreign travelers. Following the most recent border closure in April 2021, the Chile Tourism Board turned its focus on infrastructural updates and trainings and also began a campaign highlighting tour guides to better prepare for a travel rebound.
The country, which received over 220,000 tourists from the U.S. in 2019, prior to the pandemic, is giving its largest airport, Santiago de Chile’s Arturo Merino Benitez International Airport, a $900 million facelift that will allow the airport to receive 30 million travelers, up from the 16 million visitors it can currently receive. The official re-inauguration of a new international terminal is slated for the end of 2021 and will include over 2 million square feet of facilities. Pretty cool: One of the levels of the airport’s new parking buildings will operate as an open-air amphitheater for free cultural events and other activities.
The Chile Tourism Board has also made use of the downtime by training hundreds of local tourism companies, helping them upgrade their digital skills. SERNATUR, a government entity representing the Chile Tourism Board, used SIGO Technology to provide the interactive digitalization training. As the pandemic sped up the use of digital platforms, these businesses were able to gain a competitive edge by acquiring new digital skills and tools that allowed them to strengthen their positioning online.
Another notable SERNATUR campaign is “Relatos de Guías,” or “Tales by Guides” in English. It invites tour guides to submit a video where they give a virtual tour of their Chilean destination of choice. Launched in June, nearly 2,000 guides have participated and will be compensated financially for sharing their video. Then, SERNATUR’s production team will work alongside the participating guides to produce a five-minute video, which will be published online.
Prior to COVID-19, American travelers were one of the country’s top feeder and priority markets. The average length of stay for U.S. tourists to the country was approximately 15 days while the average daily spend was nearly $100. Chile has become increasingly attractive to North American travelers, especially due to its location on the west coast of South America, which allows for a variety of climates and ecosystems making it well-suited for adventure experiences. Due to this favorable climate, the country also enjoys some of the world’s clearest skies for stargazing, as well as vineyards that produce top-quality wine.
While borders remain closed to foreign tourists, Chile has seen an increase in national and international air routes, which will continue as new mobility passes start being granted to locals. Per Chile’s Civil Aeronautics Board, there was a 237.7 percent increase in international air traffic in May 2021 when compared to the same period in 2020. Furthermore, Chile’s National Statistics Institute indicates that occupancy rates for hotel rooms registered an increase of over 200 percentage points in April 2021, compared to the same month in 2020. Chile’s mobility pass, issued by the national government, came into effect on May 26 and will allow domestic travel, among other activities, for people who have their two vaccine doses.
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