Rafael Vera Castillo

Vicuña, World Capital of Astronomy and Conscious Tourism

Chile is a world leader in adventure tourism and has the cleanest skies in the world. This opportunity has positioned Vicuña as a capital of the scientific activity of astronomy and astronomical tourism. Being a national and international reference because it has developed a strategy to position our territory, Vicuña as the World Capital of Astronomy.

We are sure that the Canary Islands in Spain and Hawaii in the United States are recognised for the international profile of their nations. However, in our commune a tremendously special movement has developed. 

We have the scientific observatory with the most important Digital Sky Observation Camera in the world, soon to be inaugurated as the Vera Rubin Observatory of AURA, we have the most important astro-tourist observatory in Latin America and a planetarium with world-class technology from the company Evans & Sutherland. We have the first municipal ordinance in Chile for the protection of dark skies and a special plan to denounce and control those who do not comply.  And we have promoted, together with the Advanced Leadership Foundation (ALF), the World Astrotourism Summit, which hopes to confirm the official sponsorship of the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) in the near future.

However, development on a local scale imposes a particular and unique emphasis.

Those who have lived for centuries in the territory and those who have chosen to live in Vicuña, the heart of the Elqui Valley, Coquimbo Region, Chile, maintain that our territory is pure energy. That it possesses a magnetism that allows us to have an integral wellbeing. It is normal to notice that our inhabitants are long-lived, being the arguments of their condition the Mediterranean diet and the "way of life" in the middle of the clearest skies in the world, the contrast of the hills with incomparable landscapes. And above all, one of the richest biodiversities in our country as the northern border of the Atacama Desert.

We know that we need reliable cities, with urban planning coherent with our tourist vocation and to specialise in the profile of the new tourist.

We are convinced that tourism with a future is a conscious tourism based on ethics, the promotion of human dignity, peace, mutual respect, solidarity and collaboration. Being more profound than transformational, regenerative, ecological and sustainable tourism. 

We want Vicuña to continue to become the World Capital of Astronomy and conscious tourism.

Rafael Vera Castillo

Mayor of Vicuña

President of the Association of Tourist Municipalities of Chile

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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