VALLE NEVADO, Chile – More than 1.4 million people will visit the Chilean ski resorts during the Southern Hemisphere’s winter months, a 20 percent increase over last year, Deputy Tourism Secretary Javiera Montes announced Thursday.
“It’s a very good season. It began in the expected way in comparison to other years and it will allow us to have an increase in arrivals, more jobs and more spending and currency contributions to our economy,” said Montes at the official inauguration ceremony for the ski season, held at the Valle Nevado resort, located 50 kilometers (31 miles) from Santiago.
Authorities calculate that the ski season will bring in more than $200 million in income for the Chilean economy.
This year, the snow started falling early in the Andes and this allowed the ski resorts to open their doors earlier than usual at the end of May.
“This promises to be one of the best seasons in the last 30 years. The weather forecasts say that we’ll continue having snow, and so we’re absolutely prepared to remain open until the end of October,” said Thomas Grob, general manager of the La Parva resort and president of the Association of Ski Resorts (Aceski).
Tourism authorities project that this year about a million skiers will visit the resorts along with 400,000 non-skiers, with about 60 percent being Chileans, and some 60 percent of the remaining 40 percent being Brazilians.
Winter tourism is an important part of the Chilean government’s strategy to encourage visitors to come to Chile.
Montes said that this year Chile expects to welcome some 6.4 million tourists, 14 percent more than in 2016.