This South American country was already a popular destination for culture-seekers, foodies and history buffs alike, but the country is about to get even more desirable for tourists.
In the first half of this year, Chile’s tourism grew 20% – faster and with higher gross receipts than the country’s exports of wine – and President Michelle Bachelet wants to keep the momentum going.
Bachelet told delegates attending the Adventure Travel Trade Association’s Adventure Travel World Summit that a national plan supporting sustainable tourism is budgeted to spend $100 million between now and 2018 to develop new areas of the country. The government is prioritizing the protection of some natural areas, she added, and the development of others.
One major investment in the plan is the $17 million designated to developing 132 miles of trails, 21 miles of bicycle paths and campgrounds in national parks.
The plan will also aim to strengthen human capital by teaching English and Portuguese to tourism workers, as well as promote Chile on a more international level.
In an interview with Travel Weekly, Bachelet also disclosed her current negotiations with the mining industry on the topic of permitting exploitation of resources along some of the country’s 20,000 glaciers.
“We’re having a discussion to decide which ones we’re going to protect. It will be the majority of them,” she said.
Bachelet, who is 18 months into her second four-year nonconsecutive term as president, said that her first administration had passed wide-ranging legislation that gave incentives to develop the country’s tourism industry, “but we need to update it,” she said. “We need to see what worked and what needs to be changed.”