Within the framework of this renowned international event, which took place in Panama, Travel2latam had the opportunity to talk with Verónica Pardo, Undersecretary of Tourism of Chile.
What does participation in an event like FIEXPO mean to you?
It is a tremendous event, Chile has congresses and meetings and I think we have taken little advantage of that. There are many international corporate meetings that are there, there is a high level of professionalization that our country has and professional development, and we see that there is much more potential than we believe in Chile to open up more to MICE tourism. The objective is to make Chile a nerve center because it also has another grace, that since its nature is so diverse, its attractiveness is very high. There is a mixture of different places to visit and a professional level that can attract many meetings, that is our challenge now.
They are a large and well-connected country…
Exactly, what works against us is that we are far away and we are long, so when we want to attract tourists from North America or North Europe and they come to Santiago and then go to the north of our country, there are more flight hours, so there we have attention and a good challenge to solve. However, we are well connected, today we have more international flights and certain alliances that will allow more people to come to our country.
What are the priority markets to develop your promotion?
In terms of receptive tourism, our main planned tourist is Brazil, and I say planned, because the Argentinean crosses the border and comes without much planning, we are sister countries. Brazil is our main market, they love skiing and wine, and they are very attracted by the mix between 60 and 120 km away from the mountains and the sea. In addition, other countries that we have been looking at for a while and from which more tourists are visiting us are the United States and Canada, precisely because of our nature tourism, which is becoming more attractive every day due to the diversity we have; mountains, volcano, hidden nature to develop. It has been super nice because we have taken information on how they see us from these countries, and they see us as professionals, serious, with institutions, with exports of wine and salmon, and better technology,
What is the situation of the Chilean hotel industry?
In general I have dedicated myself to touring my country, and today that I am Secretary of Tourism I am shocked. We have a variety of good quality hotels of all sizes and capacities. We have from boutique hotels, which are wonderful, and giant hotels that are located overlooking nature. For example, I was in a hotel looking at the Llaima Volcano in autumn, with red AND yellow oak trees, and these wonders really are all over the country. In the north of the Atacama we have a hotel with some levels of luxury, and that is where there is another very interesting mix; the rural experience, getting to know the indigenous community, the gastronomic experience, heritage experiences and heritage routes. As for meetings and conventions, they can be held, for example, in Santiago, and get to know regions such as Valparaíso or Viña, El Mauro, O'higgins, Valle Nevado. Near Santiago are all the vineyards and that experience is getting better every day. In addition, we have roads that are very beautiful and lead to the Chilean coast. Today there are beaches with very good surfing where Pan-American Championships are held, and that effectively shows the variety and the level that has been increasing, and above all the closeness that we are having with the communities and visitors.