People from all around the world will be able to visit Chile, providing they meet certain health criteria. The Health Ministry has announced protocols to control possible Covid-19 infections.
As from November 23, Santiago’s International Airport will again be open to international tourists from any country. The news was welcomed by the tourism industry’s business owners, associates and workers as an essential part of the sector’s reactivation.
Once the norm reopening the country comes into effect, visitors will not have to quarantine and will be able to travel freely, but will be controlled through an application to monitor their state of health.
“The most important thing is the principle of traceability, which we must have very well implemented before opening the borders: everyone entering the country - Chileans and foreigners - will be subject to a 14-day surveillance period. They are going to have to report their symptoms and location,” said Undersecretary of Health Paula Daza, who added that people who do not notify their status and comply with the reporting may face a penalty.
There have recently been peaceful demonstrations in different parts of the country, calling for the reopening of borders. They were closed on March 17 in one of the first health measures adopted to prevent the spread of the pandemic.
Total eclipse in Chile
The announcement is great news for tourism businesses in southern Chile and, particularly, the municipal districts of the Araucanía Region because of the total eclipse that will be visible there in December. It is, therefore, still possible to offer tourist packages, although Undersecretary Daza was emphatic that compliance with measures to avoid contagion will be essential and, ideally, that the area not be in phases of confinement that prevent the free movement of people.
“We hope that, between now and then, we have seen progress to more advanced stages - Preparation or Initial Opening - because, in order to move from one municipal district to another, the district to which people are going must be in at least the Preparation Stage (Phase 3); we have to wait and see how the Araucanía Region evolves. Let’s hope that this is the case and that they are in more advanced stages of the Step-by-Step Plan,” she concluded.
The tourism industry in Chile has been one of the sectors hardest hit, first by the social crisis and then the arrival of Covid-19. A perfect storm that has led to the worst crisis in its history, according to Ricardo Margulis, President of the Federation of Tourism Companies of Chile. “We are in a critical situation, with restaurants closed, airlines and hotels that have been practically unable to operate, and travel agencies and the entire chain of the sector in a serious state of fragility,” he warned.
According to Undersecretary Daza, the plan being drawn up by the Ministry envisages a gradual opening so, in this phase, the international air travel barrier will be lifted only at Santiago’s Arturo Merino Benítez Airport and the rest of the country’s borders will remain closed. However, there will be no restrictions on the origin of visitors who may come from anywhere in the world, regardless of their country’s epidemiological situation.
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