Chile is aiming to become one of the world’s main tourist destinations, and to make sure they achieve it within the next decade the government has destined $400 million exclusively to the development of this economic activity.
Chile placed its hopes in tourism for its capacity to employ women and youths, the two areas that have been hit the hardest by unemployment. Tourism also offers Chile the opportunity to protect its landmarks and develop around them.
One of the main goals of Transforma Turismo, the name of the program under which the investment was made, is to increase the average expenditure per tourist. For this, the government is committed to provide a wider, more sustainable and more sophisticated range of tourist activities, particularly around astrotourism (tourism related specifically to the observation of stars and celestial bodies), Mapuche gastronomy, ecotourism and national parks.
Chile’s president, Michelle Bachelet assisted the launch of Transforma Turismo, and emphasized on the power the tourism industry has to make positive changes. “We know the privileged place that tourism holds as one of the most strategic sectors of the economy. Additionally, this is a sector that employs many women worldwide and in Chile.”
Chile’s Minister for the Economy, Luis Felipe Cespedes also chipped in, saying that “numbers back it up, and the efforts we will make are significant. We have committed to a project that involves $400 million dollars within the next 9 years between public and private participants. A unique and unheard of effort.”
Chile is currently the eighth most popular tourist destination in the Americas, drawing in close to 3 million tourists in 2010.
Bachelet added that “Chilean tourism can make it even farther, that would mean more development for all of us, that is why we must take full advantage of our potential.”