Chile, officially the Republic of Chile, is a South American country occupying a long, narrow strip of land between the Andes to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far south. Chilean territory includes the Pacific islands of Juan Fernández, Salas y Gómez, Desventuradas, and Easter Island in Oceania. Chile also claims about 1,250,000 square kilometres of Antarctica under the Chilean Antarctic Territory.
The arid Atacama Desert in northern Chile contains great mineral wealth, principally copper and lithium. The relatively small central area dominates in terms of population and agricultural resources and is the cultural and political centre from which Chile expanded in the late 19th century when it incorporated its northern and southern regions. Southern Chile is rich in forests and grazing lands and features a string of volcanoes and lakes. The southern coast is a labyrinth of fjords, inlets, canals, twisting peninsulas, and islands.
Since the mid-1990s, tourism in Chile has become one of the main sources of income for the country, especially in its most extreme areas. In 2005, this sector grew by 13.6%, generating more than US$500 million, equivalent to 1.33% of the national GDP.
According to the World Tourism Organization, Chile was the eighth most popular destination for foreign tourists within the Americas in 2010, after the United States, Mexico, Canada, Argentina, Brazil, the Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico. That year, 2,766,000 tourists entered the country, generating a revenue of US$1,636 million. The majority of these visitors came from American countries, mainly Argentina; however, the biggest growth in recent years has been in visitors from Europe, especially Germany.