Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Earthquake in Chile: Colchagua Valley Back In Business

The Colchagua Valley relies on tourism. Along with the vineyards, fruit orchards and traditional agriculture, tourism brings in a huge amount of money to the region.

Before the earthquake, things were looking really good for Santa Cruz on the tourism front. Excellent new hotels and restaurants have opened over the past year or so and more and more tourists have been coming to visit this beautiful valley.

It looked like the earthquake might put the brakes on this growth. And it might, a little. But the resilience of the people in Colchagua is amazing and things are returning to normal very quickly.

Last night, Vino Bello re-opened. La Casita de Barreales, one of the best Peruvian restaurants I've been to is also open. The two best boutique hotels, Terra Vina and Casa de Campo never closed and are currently full.

Wineries in Apalta Valley will be reopening for tourists within the next two weeks and I imagine most of the others around Santa Cruz will be doing the same.

So, the two best restaurants in town are open. The two best boutique hotels in town are open. The wineries will all soon be open. That means there's no reason for you not to come and support the local economy. Remember that all the money you spend here trickles down into the local economy and business owners are extremely aware of their responsibilities to their employees, who have generally been amongst the worst affected by this earthquake.

And on my business front (real estate in Chile), this year was shaping up to be a really good one. I've noticed a sudden halt in small-scale investment enquiries but, thankfully, the two large-scale clients I'm working with have not been put off. If those bits of business come off, we'll be looking at potentially us$10-20 million being pumped into the local economy plus the jobs that will be created- just what we need in the region right now.

And I'm pretty hopeful that small-scale investors will return as well. Colchagua is still a stunningly beautiful part of the country and the investment opportunities are as good as they were before. I can't think of many other areas of Chile that offer as much as Santa Cruz and the surroundings villages and countryside for full time living, retirement, second homes and small-scale agriculture.

One of my great hopes is that I can play a part in the regeneration of Colchagua both through the emergency housing work I'm involved in in Poblacion in the short term and in the medium to long term through attracting more and more investment to the area. For more information about investing in Chile, please visit Chile Investments.

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