According to the Associated Press, Chile’s $2 billion tourism industry has taken a beating since the devastating mega-quake in central Chile on February 27.
According to the report, travelers canceled half of their reservations at Chile's hotels in the first weeks of March. Despite Easter vacations, 30 percent of reservations have been canceled for April. That's bad news for a nation in desperate need of reconstruction dollars, but it may mean opportunity for deal-hunting travelers.
The first startling sight for most visitors is Santiago's banged-up international airport, where the ceiling and walkways were severely damaged. Jumbo jets now empty passengers onto the tarmac, where they collect baggage off the ground and file through customs in a tent.
After the unusual arrival, though, the most surprising thing for tourists may be how undamaged Chile appears. Given the country's slender geography, only the central regions were widely damaged, particularly coastal cities wiped out by the tsunami. Famous destinations in the northern Atacama Desert and southern Patagonia were entirely untouched.
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