Tourism in many cities and towns in the country is the main source of livelihood. The inhabitants of the coastal communes, for the most part, are engaged in this area providing accommodation, food and sports services.
«Our commune depends on approximately 70% of what tourist activity is. From March to date, all restaurants, kiosks, cabins, residential and hotels have been closed. All the people who depended on the tourism sector today are settling, which has caused tremendous economic damage to our entire community,» said Roberto Córdova, mayor of Pichilemu.
The Pichilemu Surf School is one of the companies that has had to remain closed since March. Its owner, Rodrigo Arriagada, noted that the reopening is complicated, since to implement the protocols it is necessary to have funds. «I don’t have how to implement protocols without lucas. I have to put in a sink, find a chemical to disinfect the suits and close the lockers. The only option is to go into debt.» Besides, he hasn’t received any help.» We haven’t received anything from the municipality and one is bored because it’s been five months and I don’t see any progress.»
Fear of regrowment is one of the fears that exist in the tourism sector, with restaurants that prefer to postpone reopening for a while. «85% of restaurants would not be willing to open because they are afraid of a regrowth. We open now, but we’re out of summer, or we wait a while longer,» said Danilo Robles, director of the Pichilemu Chamber of Tourism. In addition, he added that Corfo committed to giving a direct injection for SMEs.
From the municipality of Pichilemu, they point out that they are working with the Municipal Council and a technical team to develop programmes that benefit activities that have been harmed. Currently, as the commune already has a program of help for restaurant owners, giving them training and resources to implement health measures.
Arrival of tourists
«I’ve always thought we couldn’t tell people not to go to Pichilemu because it didn’t do the emotional ties we have to the thousands of tourists who arrive, because we want them to come back,» said the Mayor of Pichilemu.
Allowing people to come to their second home has been one of the issues discussed in the pandemic. The mayor, Roberto Córdova, noted that in Pichilemu there are more second homes than permanent inhabitants, considering that it is necessary to generate the conditions for these people to visit their home. «Many people need to go to their home to see the condition they are in, as during the pandemic they have increased the number of thefts.»
The protocols for the reopening of restaurants, lodgings and adventure tourism activities are now available to be applied. Despite this, the investment required by the implementation of these will result in many entrepreneurs having to borrow from being re-indebted to revive trade.