Australians are hotter for Chile than ever before according to the latest numbers released by the Tourism Authority of Chile. Lured by world-class food and wine, natural beauty, gorgeous cities, fascinating culture – and more flight options than ever before – Australians are flocking to Chile in record numbers.
Chile’s tourism industry has reported its best year ever with international arrivals showing a 26% increase from 2015.
Australian visitor numbers were up 10.8% in 2016, reaching 50,968, the highest visitor total Chile has ever received from Australia.
For 2017, tourism is projected to see a 14% increase in international arrivals from 5.6 million to 6.4 million, with Australian visitor numbers expected to grow by 10 %.
According to Chimu Adventures and the Tourism Authority of Chile, increased air capacity, value for money and reduced misconceptions regarding distance and accessibility have been some of the main factors contributing to this growth. Also fuelling this new found love is Chile’s recent win of “South America’s Leading Adventure Tourism Destination” at the 2016 World Travel Awards.
“With air capacity at record heights and the launch of direct flights from Melbourne to Santiago, Chile has become more accessible for Australians than ever before” said Greg Carter, co-founder at Chimu Adventures.
“Both Qantas and LATAM have increased their capacity into South America considerably over the last three years by switching to larger aircraft and we’ve been seeing the impact of the boost in seat numbers with some very competitive airfares.”
Juan Lopez, Asia Pacific Market Manager of the Tourism Authority of Chile added “Australian travellers seem to realise that Chile is closer than they always thought it would be, in fact, it’s as close as a trip to LA!”
“Chile is a colourful destination offering variety like no other place on earth with its diversified landscapes from the glaciers to the salt plains and the desert, the great weather all year long and not to mention the hospitality and warmth of the locals.”
“Chile is often referred to as ‘the Switzerland of South America’ for a good reason – infrastructure and safety are better than ever before and improving every day.”
According to Chimu Adventures and the Tourism Authority of Chile, the top things to do in Chile for adventure lovers are:
– Explore Santiago and surrounds: Santiago is the entry point to Chile and a must-do for every visitor. Sitting in a deeply carved valley framed by high Andean peaks, Santiago is not only an extremely beautiful city but it also offers an amazing choice of food on top of boating a variety of art galleries, historic mansions and museums. In Santiago you also have a world of activities right at your doorstep such as the award-winning vineyards of the Maipo Valley as well as some of the best skiing slopes in winter that become exceptional wilderness hiking trails in summer.
– Visit Atacama Desert: The Atacama Desert located in Chile’s north is considered the driest hot desert in the world. There are a lot of day activities visitors can choose from such as exploring the Salt Plains or visiting indigenous cultures.
– Cruise the fjords: Cruising along the channels and fjords of Tierra del Fuego in southern Patagonia, you will be able to appreciate nature at its most uninhibited sailing through its glaciers, snow-covered peaks, granite cliffs and glacial waterfalls.
– Trek Patagonia: Torres del Paine National Park has become a Patagonia icon offering a plethora of hiking opportunities giving adventure-seeking explorers the best perspective on Patagonian scenery, its mountains, turquoise lakes, rivers and glaciers.
Chimu Adventures’ 8-day “Secrets of Chile” is priced from AUD 3,720** and takes in the colours and flavours of Chile. From exploring the fascinating history and culture of Santiago, to hiking and sampling delicious food and wine in Casablanca Valley, exploring UNESCO World Heritage site Valparaiso and discovering Atacama Desert with its ancient cultures and traditions, this tour offers an in-depth exploration of all there is to love about Chile.