Patricia was born in Chile, but now lives in San Francisco with her American husband, Peter. She says Chile's economy depends a great deal on the money made off tourism.
Her family in Chile tells her that tourist attractions are hurting for business, and they blame it on the earthquake and the media only reporting about the damaged areas. Patricia thought she needed to do something, so she decided to put out a letter on Facebook to anyone who would listen. Here's part of the letter.
Some of Patricia's children, her parents and other relatives live in Chile. Many of her family members make a living by operating their own flying fishing lodges in southern Chile. Patricia says "I have many friends and connections in tourism in Chile and I know how bad they are hurting. The hotel bookings drop 63% in my home town Puerto Varas, which is in the Lake District, one of the main tourist destinations in Chile that was not affected by the quake."
The earthquake has not only impacted tourism, but now it's having a ripple effect. Patricia adds "The hotels employ maids, waiters and bell boys. If they don't have guests they will have to fire them. The people that work on transfers won't have anyone to give their services to. The stores in those towns, car rentals, guides, cafes and restaurants; everyone relies on tourism."
She says "In all the touristic destinations the airports are operating normally. The roads are fine and everyone is waiting for tourists. I think it is time for a positive message to give to the world and help Chile to heal."
Other important links:
Chile's Official Tourism Website http://www.sernatur.cl/