Chile may turn collapsed San Jose mine, Camp Hope into museum to boost tourism

Friday, October 15, 2010

LONDON - Chile is keen to capitalize on the new-found global attention on the country following the dramatic rescue of the 33 men from the collapsed San Jose gold and copper mine in Copiapo.

According to the Telegraph, tourist agencies in the country want to turn the dangerous mine and surrounding ‘Camp Hope’, where families gathered to wait for news of their loved ones, into a museum.

“We think many people will be attracted. There is great tourist potential. All the journalists and media out there have been good for the area,” the newspaper quoted a spokesman for Turismo Chile, as saying.

STA Travel, the world’s biggest travel agency, said that they have already seen an uplift in interest in people wanting to travel to Chile from Britain.

“Over the last two months we have seen an increase in sales and enquiries to Chile both through our call centres and as reported by our branch managers. Whilst we can’t directly attribute the uplift to the mining triumph in Chile, it’s clear that the whole world has been caught up by the passion and dedication shown by the people there over the past weeks,” said Ian Swain, STA Travel Product Director.

“The whole mining episode has no doubt raised awareness of the country and bought it to the forefront of people’s minds, including some of our customers,” he added.

The last of the trapped miners was raised from the depths of the earth on Wednesday- 69 days after the mine collapse.

An estimated 700,000 tonnes of rock collapsed inside the 121-year-old mine in the historically significant mining accident on August 5.

Rescue officials led by a senior United States mine engineer had earlier estimated that it would take three to four months to complete the rescue.

However, the rescue exceeded expectations every step of the way, as it turned out to be 69 days and about eight hours.

Once the escape tunnel was finished, they estimated that it would take 36 to 48 hours to get all the miners to safety, but as the operation went along all the miners were evacuated in 22 hours and 37 minutes. (ANI)

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