Interview with Gustavo Santos

Director for the Americas of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)

In a few more years Chile will become the world leader in astro-tourism

Gustavo Santos

Director for the Americas of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)

In this exclusive interview Gustavo Santos, Director for the Americas of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), reviews the development of the region and the country in astronomical matters. He also assesses the impact of the World Astrotourism Summit Vicuña 2023, to be held between 6 and 9 September, at which he will be a speaker. 

Are you surprised that a small commune like Vicuña is organising an event of this magnitude?

I am not surprised for two reasons: Firstly, because Chile was one of the pioneering countries in the world in developing astro-tourism; and secondly, because astro-tourism happens to take place in small towns. 

What is the importance of investing in this type of tourism?

Astrotourism is a tremendous opportunity for rural populations to enter the world tourism circuit, and for this to become an opportunity for life and roots for its population. 

Moreover, it is sustainable...

We say it from the World Tourism Organisation: Either it (tourism) is sustainable or it is not". We are the ones who protect the resources because we know that these resources are the ones that will allow us to develop our activity. 

In this sense, astrotourism is an activity that goes directly hand in hand with sustainability; it is in its very essence the preservation of the space of the skies to be able to be contemplated. 

What is the place of astrotourism in Latin America? 

In my opinion, Latin America is the promising territory for the tourism of the future, and this is anchored in the fact that we are one of the most important sources of sustainability on the planet. 

Just as Chile was the forerunner of astro-tourism, there are other countries that to a lesser extent are beginning to develop it, such as Argentina, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia and Mexico. 

What impact could the summit to be held between 6 and 9 September in Vicuña have? 

I think the impact could be very important since the summit is based on a very strong country positioning, but at the same time it is being reactivated and made visible. 

It is important that this has continuity and that it is a permanent reflection for Vicuña and for the whole of Chile as a regional leader in this tourist activity. 

What do you think of the list of exhibitors at the event?  

I think it is relevant and of the highest level, and the World Tourism Organisation (WTO) has also valued it as such. For our part, we will have the presence of the expert on competitiveness and tourism products, Sandra Carvao. 

I have no doubt that in a few more years Chile will definitely become the world leader in astro-tourism, which is very important for our region. These events help to position destinations and that is why we are giving them priority interest from the UNWTO. 

Gustavo Santos - OMT.mp4

The authors are responsible for the choice and presentation of the facts contained in this document and for the opinions expressed therein, which are not necessarily those of Tourism and Society Think Tank and do not commit the Organization, and should not be attributed to TSTT or its members.

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