San Pedro de Atacama is one of the places most demanded by tourists looking to live unique experiences and that has made it a must-have of Chile. So much so that this year the World Travel Awards – known as the Oscars of tourism – crowned it as the «Most Romantic Destination in South America».
For this reason and many other attributes such as being embedded in an area of indigenous development, is that San Pedro de Atacama maintains a sustained increase in visits which generates a significant impact on the economy, quality of life and generation of employment of its inhabitants.
This panorama has already been experienced by important destinations in the world, which have suffered the effects of tourist saturation such as the loss of quality of life of its inhabitants, environmental pollution, to name a few.
In the face of this scenario, the «Saturation Index Development in San Pedro de Atacama» is being carried out as part of Corfo’s program «Transforma Tourism», in conjunction with the PTI Tourism of The Corfo Desert and the support of the Catholic University and in Sernatur’s collaboration.
The initiative seeks to deliver early warnings in different aspects, so as to have measurable information and historical evolution that helps to make decisions in a timely manner so as not to affect the quality of life of residents and tourists.
«We have worked in an important alliance with corfo Antofagasta’s Integrated Territorial Program, to apply a new tool in our tourist destination,» said Justo Zuleta Santander, Manager of The Desert Tourism PTI.
Saturation of Tourist Destinations
Saturation of Tourist Destinations is one of the initiatives of the Transforma Turismo program and stands out in allowing to take appropriate actions and decisions to manage the destinations and plan coordinated investments.
Melissa Gutierrez, executive of the Transforma Turismo program, argues that knowing the potential saturation of tourist destinations can «anticipate their potential decline. Pre-empt situations that could be avoided based on re-orientations and management mechanisms that prevent reaching that state of saturation. And to make it not only the validity of the tourist destination in the medium and long term but also the sustainability of the territory that hosts it».
In the case of San Pedro de Atacama, the index will be measured as a «pilot» that allows to improve the tool through a territorial experience, the results will be delivered to the municipality and the communities so that they can have objective information that allows help guide your tourism management.
Thus, this management tool measures the status of a set of variables that allow to understand the integral impact of tourism on the territory.
The index provides information to manage the sustainable development of tourism at the destination seeking a quality tourist experience, respectful of environmental, cultural, identity and landscape assets; to ensure the well-being of the resident population and the viability of long-term economic activities.
For the Transforma Turismo program, the objectives of the index are:
Avoid the decline of tourist destinations, anticipating their saturation.
Promote the conservation and respect of the environmental, cultural, identity assets of the territory.
Respect the well-being of the population residing in the destination and encourage tourism to have positive and shared impacts on local development
To promote the feasibility of economic activities directly and indirectly associated with tourism
Support management, coordination and decision-making in the territory in relation to its status as a tourist destination.
Adapt the supply of tourism and the territory according to their status as a tourist destination to changes in demand.
Deliver an integral look at the territory, in its vocation as a tourist destination
Differentiate the temporality of the behavior of the population at the destination.
To propose to ensure the sustainability of the tourist destination and a quality tourist experience.