SANTIAGO – Chile plans to create new national parks in Pumalin, Melimoyu and Patagonia regions, as the South American country is expected to enjoy a rise in international visitors during its peak summer season between December and March 2018.
Sernatur (Chile Tourism Board) is forecasting 3.5 million arrivals during the period, which would be nearly a 25% increase on 2016-17’s figure of 2.8 million tourists.
The largest increase in visitors over the summer is expected to come from neighboring Argentina (up 16.8%), while arrivals from Brazil are set to rise by around 7%.
Sernatur is predicting that the number of European arrivals for the summer period will increase by around 4.5% to more than 220,000 people compared with the previous summer, while U.S. tourists will go up 1.5% year-on-year.
Marcela Cabezas, director of Sernatur, said adventure and nature tourism was “key” for Chile and that the tourist board would be promoting these products and experiences during WTM London.
“The creation of the new Route of Parks, a network connecting 17 national parks across Chile, will allow the expansion and reclassification of areas of high biodiversity and outstanding potential for nature tourism located in the regions of Los Lagos, Aysen and Magallanes,” she said.
“To put conservation at the forefront of our tourism products, we are hoping to create three new national parks: Pumalin, Melimoyu and Patagonia; and to expand three existing parks: Hornopiren, Corcovado and Isla Magdalena.”
Cabezas added that Chile also wanted to promote lesser-known areas of the country as part of its 2017-18 strategy.
“The new strategy will highlight emerging destinations such as Robinson Crusoe Island, the main island in the remote archipelago of Juan Fernandez, as well as Lauca National Park, located in the Andes in northern Chile, and Chiloe, known for its ancient traditions and incomparable gastronomy,” she said.
“Coyhaique in the region of Aysen in the south of Chile, known as the gateway to Patagonia, will also be a key destination for us to promote.”
Chile’s government wants to improve the quality of the country’s tourism infrastructure and services as well as diversify its range of products.
— SERNATUR (@Sernatur) November 6, 2017
As part of these efforts, the government plans to create opportunities for entrepreneurs to invest in tourism projects within protected wilderness areas.