Tourism boost

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In Puerto Williams, Chile, the world’s most southern city, GHD has developed a proposal to address the growing need for tourist-related infrastructure. The objective? To transform the area into a stopover city for cruise ships and capture a growing slice of the tourism dollar.

While Puerto Williams is the gateway to Antarctica, just 2000 tourists visit annually, roughly equivalent to the town’s population. This is in stark contrast to the Argentinian town of Ushuaia – located just 40 km (24 mi) across the Beagle Straits – that welcomes more than 200,000 tourists and 250 cruise ships every year.

Engaged by the Chilean Ministry of Public Works, the Department of Port Works Regional Government and the National Fund for Regional Development, GHD has examined ways to upgrade existing naval port infrastructure in a cost-effective manner. The proposal recommends reinforcing the existing dock for exclusive use by the Chilean Navy, and developing a new site enabling cruise ships up to 240 m (787 ft) to dock without tendering.

GHD's Project Director, Paula Arias offers, “Our team provided detailed engineering and ship maneuverability studies, developed piping works (for drinking water and fuel supply), studied soil mechanics and oceanography, prepared an environmental impact statement and conducted an underwater archeological inspection.

"Architectural services were also provided and a proposal was developed for facilities catering to passengers, customs, police, the Agriculture and Livestock Service and administrative staff. Community stakeholders were consulted throughout the process. On the whole, they are supportive of the initiative, which will provide considerable opportunities for economic growth."

Construction is expected to commence in 2015.

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