Explora positive despite fire damage

Explora positive despite fire damage
By admin

Chilean firm Explora has anticipated strong growth in 2012 despite significant losses caused by the temporary closure of its top performing property in Torres del Paine national park due to fire damage.

Chief executive Jesus Parilla told Travel Today the two-month closure of Hotel Salto Chico, during peak season, had resulted in more than 1000 reservations being lost. “For a small company, that is huge,” he said.

He revealed the Patagonia property had been on track for “the best season ever” following extensive refurbishment when the fire struck, burning a surrounding area of 16,000 hectares. Fortunately, the speed of the blaze meant the eco-lodge only suffered smoke damage.

The property reopened in February, with occupancies immediately hitting 80%. In March they dropped slightly to between 70% and 75% which was “still very good for the time of year”, according to Parilla.

Although 7% of the surrounding damaged area, made up of native trees, will take up to 80 years to recover, 70% will be “the same” within eight months, he said.

Some regrowth has already occurred, but the firm has meanwhile devised a revised range of excursions which allow guests to experience undamaged parts of the vast park.

Parilla forecast 20% growth for the property out of the Australian market this year, despite the closure.

Email the Travel Weekly team at traveldesk@travelweekly.com.au

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