by Adam Dunning October 15th, 2010
Chile is hoping that the positive spin put on the country by the rescue of 33 trapped miners will rub off on the tourism industry. The scenes of euphoria witnessed by millions around the world as the last miner was hauled to safety should do much to dispel the memories of the huge earthquake which shook the country in February.
Copiapo, a town near the mine in the Atacama Desert, is not yet a big tourist draw. Things could change as discussions take place about how best to celebrate the miners’ remarkable story. Camp Hope, the village of tents set up for the teams of rescue workers, concerned relatives and the media could well become a permanent fixture. There is also talk of establishing some sort of underground museum.
The miners themselves are probably looking forward to some time away from the place in which they struggled for survival for 69 days. One of the rescued, Edison Pina, a devotee of Elvis is off to Graceland on an all-expenses-paid holiday.
A mining company in Greece has invited all of the miners for a week’s visit and Spanish football team Real Madrid has invited them all to come and watch them play.
A report by CNN suggests that Chile’s foreign business could do well out of the country’s time in the spotlight and the events of the last few weeks will certainly do no harm to tourism at home. Even the wine industry should receive a boost if the number of people promising to open a bottle in celebration is anything to go by.