Chile needs to embrace the private sector and commit more resources to international marketing, if it is to realise the full potential of its Travel & Tourism industry to create jobs and economic growth, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council.
Speaking at the FEDETUR Tourism Leadership Forum in Santiago de Chile, WTTC president David Scowsill told delegates that the importance of the tourism industry Chile was already understood by the government but that steps could be taken to encourage further growth in the Industry.
He set out the importance of the Industry in Chile: “Tourism makes a significant contribution to Chile’s economy, to trade, to job creation, and to social well-being.
“It helps with economic development, job creation and the diversification of the economy.
“Our industry contributes nine per cent of Chile’s GDP and generates over 600,000 jobs.”
Scowsill praised the president of Chile, Michelle Bachelet, for accepting the UNWTO/WTTC Open Letter on Travel and Tourism, committing to support the sector in both the Chilean and the international policy agenda.
The UNWTO/WTTC Open Letter calls on heads of state and governments around the world to acknowledge tourism’s key role in delivering more sustained and balanced growth and prioritise the sector higher in national policies in order to maximize its potential.
He recognised that the government has adopted many progressive policies in recent years; for example, introducing open skies agreements and privatising LAN.
However, he identified that there were three steps to maximise growth.
Firstly, he recognised that the Government needs to embrace the private sector at the consultation stage, while developing policies and laws:
“The private sector must be viewed as a partner, not a separate entity.
“Both private and public sector need to speak with one voice, to coordinate their approach and work together in addressing the issues hampering growth of tourism here in Chile.”
Secondly, he stressed that greater investment also needs to be made in international marketing.
“The spotlight is on Latin America right now thanks to the World Cup taking place in Brazil.
“Chile should make the most of that spotlight.
“There needs to be a substantial increase in public investment in international tourism promotion.
“This would put Chile closer to the levels of promotion invested by Argentina, Peru, Colombia and Ecuador.”
Thirdly, he argued that Chile needs more stringent land use planning regulations to protect its natural tourism attractions.
“Too often, the very tourism assets, which tourists want to see are threatened by pollution from mining, manufacturing, energy, agricultural and forestry industries.”
He added: “I believe the economic and social interests of tourism in Chile would be best served by a clearer legal definition of the term ‘Zones of Tourist Interest’ within current legislation, as well as the establishment of effective protection measures, and investment in promoting these zones.
“This is logical as it is the tourism industry, which depends most on the successful, sustainable, long-term development of these areas.”