Nature and the
past are key attractions
WELCOMING VISITORS Development of Paraguay’s tourism industry has been given high priority in national strategy
THE REMAINS of some of the largest Jesuit missions settlements, or reducciones, in South America are to be found in Paraguay
SITUATED at the heart of South America, rich in flora and fauna, and offering the visitor a variety of natural, cultural, and historical attractions, Paraguay has great potential for tourism.
of the extent to which the sector could contribute to the Paraguayan economy,
has made the development of the tourism industry a top priority of economic
strategy. A Tourism Secretariat
has been established, and every effort is being made to position Paraguay in
the international tourism market.
Tourism is an integrated part of central administration projects such as roads and airports, all of which are planned to develop the industry, says Hugo Galli Romañach, Secretary of Tourism. Everything is being structured to convert tourism into a tool for national development.
At the same time, tourism management is being decentralized. The countrys 17 administrative departments are being encouraged to become involved in the promotion of tourism in their own areas, and to act as custodians of their local natural and cultural resources. A number of the departments have already set up their own tourism development councils.
The Chaco is one of South America’s most untouched wildlife habitats
Paraguays geographical location gives it a considerable advantage in attracting visitors. We are at the center of Mercosur, at the axis of the waterway system, and of the bi-oceanic corridor that joins the Atlantic and the Pacific oceans, points out Mr. Galli.
HUGO GALLI ROMAÑACH Secretary of Tourism
All of the southern hemispheric strategic development plans cross Paraguayan territory. We occupy a strategic, geopolitical stratum that provides us with a unique opportunity, through well-directed tourist management, to rapidly position Paraguay within the international market.
projects are planned and are underway to promote the country and add variety
to what it has to offer the visitor. The Tourism Secretariat has been working
on projects centered on the legacy of the Jesuits and the Franciscans with Spains
International Cooperation Agency.
We also have other plans, such as the restoration of the 18th-century Spanish forts in the northern region of the country, says Mr. Galli.
The historic Central Railway Station in Asunción is being restored, and converted into a central information office and database of tourism for the whole country. Paraguay boasts the oldest railway in South America, and historic steam trains are still in use transporting passengers and goods between Asunción and Aregua, on the banks of the Ypacarai lake.
PARAGUAY has potential for eco-tourism, with natural attractions both within and just across its borders
natural resources are among its strongest selling points. The country boasts
600 to 700 species of birds, more than 200 species of mammals, around 100 species
of snakes and reptiles, 60 kinds of amphibians, and 8,000 different types of
We consider nature to be one of our principal resources, and eco-tourism, adventure tourism, and rural tourism could become our great products, says Mr. Galli.
master plan is being formulated with the Inter-American Development Bank.
Bounded and divided by rivers, Paraguay has two distinct regionsthe Oriental Region and the larger Occidental Regionseparated by the Paraguay River.
97 percent of Paraguays 5.8 million population lives in the fertile, semi-tropic
eastern region, where most of the major cities are to be found, including Asunción.
East of the capital, the Lake Ypacarai district offers one of the best sites for tourism and outdoor recreation, with lakeside resorts, abundant facilities for visitors, and summer houses.
the vast flat area of the countrys western region, known as the Chaco
Paraguayo, comprises approximately 60 percent of national territory, but is
home to just 3 percent of Paraguayans.
Primarily agricultural, with huge cattle farms, the Chaco is one of the most untouched wildlife habitats in South America. It is an eco-tourists dream, home to flamingos, storks, hawks, alligators, wild boars, jaguars, and pumas.
The small human population of this remote region includes some of the last hunter and gatherer peoples to be found on the continent. It is also home to the Mennonites, a religious community of mostly German and Canadian settlers who welcome visitors to their well-ordered colonies, notably Filadelfia and Loma Plata, two of the main cities.
Paraguays eight national parks, Parque Nacional Ybycuí preserves
one of the few remaining areas of tropical forest in the country, while Parque
Nacional Cerro Corá offers many important cultural and historical features,
including pre-Columbian caves.
At 4.8 miles long and more than 600 feet high, the Itaipu dam, on the Paraná River, has become one of the greatest tourist attractions in South America, while just across the border is one of South Americas leading natural attractions, the Iguaçu Falls.
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