SANTIAGO – Uruguay’s hard currency income from tourism soared from $500 million in 2005 to $1.8 billion last year, Tourism Minister Liliam Kechichian told EFE.
“And, this year, we are going to reach around $2 billion. In addition, in the past 10 years, we went from 1.7 million tourists to more than 3 million,” Kechichian said.
Uruguay’s biggest challenge is to keep increasing the number of tourists with high spending power “and to continue working to diversify the offerings,” the minister said.
The South American country is best known for its beaches and for the cultural offerings of the capital, Montevideo, Kechichian said.
Uruguay is having “great success” promoting its many rivers, the tourism minister said.
The tourism industry accounts for about 7.5 percent of Uruguay’s gross domestic product (GDP) and employs around 100,000 people, “a significant figure” in a country of 3 million, Kechichian said.