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Diversity: Chile's Greatest Asset for AgentsMay 21, 2007 By: Joe Pike Travel Agent
Director of Chilean Tourism Promotion Corp. speaks
Travel Agent recently sat down with Pablo Retamal, director of the Chilean Tourism Promotion Corp., who urged agents to stress the safety, stability and diversity of this South American country to sell it effectively.
Retamal says agents should target the
"sophisticated" traveler when looking for clients to send to
this is usually the 55- to 60-year-old baby boomer vacationer who has a deep
appreciation for other cultures, as well as a love of soft adventure, including
skiing or snowboarding.
In 2006, about 200,000
for more than one night, 40,000 of which were cruise passengers, Retamal says.
This number increased by nine percent from 2005, he says. The country received
about two million visitors total.
Retamal stressed that
diversity, offering opportunities for eco-tourists, skiing enthusiasts and wine
lovers, as one-third of the country is made up of fertile wine regions. Most
Americans tend to travel to
from December to March. The peak ski season is from June to October. The wine
harvest usually takes place in February and March.
"There are very few places where you can ski one day,
look at the ocean on another and visit the desert the next," Retamal says.
And with an amendment to its law regarding casinos, the
country can offer clients another hook. Retamal says restrictions on gambling
were recently lifted after about a five-year struggle to attract more foreign
investment. Since the law was amended, Retamal says about 10 projects for
casinos are already in the works. Although he didn't release specifics, Retamal
told Travel Agent that some projects involve major
companies. Casino construction will begin in
He also encourages agents to assure clients that
"Many Americans think Chile is unstable, that it is unsafe, but Chile has
a stable economy, the laws are respected, we have a democracy and the crime
rate is very low, especially robbery and violent crimes," he says.
LAN Airlines, formerly LanChile, is
carrier. It is based in
South America, with flights to many cities in Latin America, North America,
LAN Airlines operates flights to and from
from which it is about an eight-hour flight to