Chile’s Economy Ministry launches National Tourism Plan including health and hygiene protocols, subs
The plan, formulated in conjunction with the Tourism Undersecretariat and Sernatur, includes subsidies totaling around CLP$7 billion (US$9 million).
The Economy, Development and Tourism Ministry, together with the Tourism Undersecretariat and National Tourism Service (Sernatur), have launched the National Tourism Plan. This includes finance, health and hygiene protocols and joint work with the tourism industry to reactivate small- and medium-sized tourism companies that have been hit hard by the global health crisis.
Economy Minister Lucas Palacios explained that the initiative “has three areas of focus and is designed to deliver targeted support and assistance in the medium term. The first is on the gradual activation of the industry between now and September, in compliance with health and hygiene protocols. The second is to provide subsidies totaling around CLP$7 billion (approx. US$9 million), which will be allocated through Sercotec (Chile’s Technical Cooperation Service). The third area of focus is a plan to promote travel within Chile to the different regions, and funding of around CLP$3 billion (US$3.8 million) will be put towards this by Sernatur and the National Fund for Regional Development (FNDR).”
“The tourism sector is especially susceptible because it depends heavily on a fully functioning supply chain within the country. We know that it is difficult to talk about an immediate reactivation of the sector, and even less so if the disease continues to spread, but we cannot just sit idly by. These SMEs need answers and we have to think about the future once the pandemic begins to ease. That is what we are doing with this Plan, moving towards this scenario,” added the Minister.
In order for a gradual reopening to occur, health and hygiene protocols are being developed for hotels, restaurants and other establishments frequented by tourists in order to safeguard the health of both clients and workers.
Minister Palacios added, “publicizing these protocols does not signal an immediate reopening. Quite the opposite. The purpose of quickly disseminating this information is to give operators in this industry time to comply with the health and hygiene demands required by each protocol. Furthermore, reopening will depend on how the pandemic evolves and also on the ability of each business to implement the various health and hygiene requirements detailed in the protocol. We must create the conditions that allow these spaces to become usable, especially in those sectors that have been most affected by the pandemic, and, by working together, develop a real culture of self-care.”
The Economy Minister highlighted “the attitude we have seen among people in regions such as Magallanes, Los Lagos, and Aysén, who, in spite of having experienced high rates of the disease at the beginning of the pandemic, were able to strictly comply with the quarantine and, as a result, considerably reduce the spread of the virus in their areas. Their good behavior has allowed them, little by little, and in accordance with the appropriate health and hygiene measures, to begin to create opportunities for local economies to restart, avoiding the need to lay off workers and preventing businesses from going bankrupt.”
Tourism Undersecretary Mónica Zalaquett highlighted that, “more than 90% of Chile’s tourism industry consists of small- and medium-sized businesses, so we are talking about supporting practically the entire industry. This plan includes, in addition to financial support, health and hygiene protocols and a strong national promotional stimulus, which are essential elements for reactivating the sector once the health authorities have given the go-ahead.”