Chile has seen a sharp drop in tourism this year.
This is mainly due to a severe drought that has seen production of corn, sugar cane and cocoa drop from a peak of almost 10 million tons in December to just over 10 million in December.
In the last three months, production has been only slightly higher, according to the Chilean Department of Tourism.
But, the government is hoping the drought will be over soon, as they have plans to expand the tourist industry and boost the economy by opening up more tourist-friendly areas in the country.
Tourism Minister Enrique Paez said in a press conference on Friday that Chile is now exporting 5 million tons of food and fuel per month, and the country has been importing food and fuels at an annual rate of about 30,000 tons a month.
“We’re in the midst of a major transformation of the food supply chain in Chile,” he said.
The Ministry of Tourism said it expects to expand tourist areas in areas where corn, soybean and cocoa production has declined, as well as the development of other agricultural products like fruits and vegetables.
“This will also help boost the export of our product in the region, which is currently in the middle of a long drought,” Paez added.
Chile is one of the few countries in Latin America to experience a sustained drought in recent years.
In December, the country experienced its driest year on record, with a record amount of rain falling in the last 24 hours, according the Chilean Meteorological Office.
The region is still recovering from a year of extreme heat, which left nearly 200 people dead in November.
It has also been hit by a severe winter that brought temperatures down to 0 degrees Celsius.
“The drought is still affecting our agricultural production,” Ponzi said.
“There’s no question about that.”
Chile’s President Michelle Bachelet, a former actress and dancer, is also keen to boost tourist activity in the coming months.
The country has seen several international conferences and other events, including a conference in Chile organized by the International Ecotourists Conference in November, which saw over 70,000 people in attendance.
The minister said that the country plans to invest more than $300 million into tourism, including in areas that are currently under-developed.
“In the future, we will be investing in new tourist resorts, new markets, new restaurants, new cafes, new hotels, and new transport links,” Paz said.
A few weeks ago, Paz also announced plans to establish a tourism development fund, which would cover the costs of establishing new resorts, expanding hotels and building new restaurants.
The ministry is also working to attract more tourists to the country, by encouraging them to return to the island of Malvinas, where they have a number of other destinations in Chile.
The country is also planning to open a tourist information center in the capital, Santiago, to make the island more accessible to the public.
Paz has also announced that tourism will soon be included in a new tourism law that will be brought into force this year, which will include all of Chile’s tourism areas, and allow the government to create tourist destinations that are “more suitable for tourists”.