Once again, Santiago de Chile will become the meeting venue for the ropeway industry. Photo: SI

Expo Andes:

The skiing market in South America is growing - and with it also the trade show held in Chile.

20 new exhibitors and around 200 more visitors are expected at this year’s Expo Andes 2019. One reason for this increase in numbers are the positive developments in the ropeway industry.


A fair, seminar and symposium all in one – this concept has made EXPO ANDES the most important ropeway industry meeting in South America in recent years. This year, for the first time the trade show will be held at the Centro Cultural Estación Mapocho in Santiago de Chile.


From October 16 to 18, 2019 some 1,600 professional visitors will find more than 80 exhibition stands and 120 brands here.


Firms from Germany, Andorra, Argentina, Austria, Canada, Chile, China, Columbia, Spain, Finland, France, Italy, Panama, Switzerland and the USA will present their products and services over 4,000 square meters of fair grounds.

Francisco Sotomayor, EXPO ANDES General Manager, is delighted: “Compared to 2017, the number of exhibitors has increased by twenty, the number of leading professional visitors by some 200.” The trade show covers alpine tourism, the mining industry and other related areas and activities.


The Expo Andes team is preparing to greet representatives from ski regions, mountain communities and border crossings, mining companies, tour operators and mountain road regions, as well as decision-makers from alpine parks, the ropeway industry, the police, the army, and ski and snowboard schools.


In addition, interior, transportation, labor, tourism, sports, defense and agriculture ministries are also involved.


“Visitors come from diverse backgrounds but they often face the same challenges such as pumping water to high altitudes, clearing roads, security and management, avalanche control, protection from falling rocks, construction in high altitudes or cable transport,” says Sotomayor, highlighting the diversity of the trade show’s audience – as well as the theme of the “mountain” that holds them all together.


The businesses of the exhibitors are equally diverse and include, among others, ropeway operation, ski slope vehicles, protection against natural hazards, safety and rescue, consulting and planning, geotechnics, control and access systems, snowmaking, education and continued training, games & fun, meteorology, clothing, water supply systems, helicopters, mapping, mounting medicine, construction and communications systems.

Professional visitors come from diverse business industries. Depending on the industry, the number of visitors varies from year to year. Generally speaking, however, EXPO ANDES’ audience continues to grow.

24 speakers at the symposium

But EXPO ANDES seeks to be more than a mere meeting platform for people from the ropeway industry, manufacturers and institutions. It also wants to act as a channel for the exchange of know-how and experience.


For this reason, 24 experts, public officials and other important people from around the world will share their knowledge and practice with trade show visitors and contribute to building contacts between the Andes and mountain ranges from other continents.


Apropos the Andes: one reason for EXPO ANDES’s growth is definitely the ongoing development of the South American skiing market. And despite the fact that the region – i.e. South America together with North America - still lags far behind the European skiing market (only four percent of the population skies here compared to twelve percent in Europe), local ski regions recorded growth and development over the past few years.


“With its almost unlimited open terrain skiing possibilities and powdery snow on untouched ski slopes, South America offers an attractive alternative to the Alpine and North American resorts during their offseason,” comments Laurant Vanat, the author of the International Report on Snow & Mountain Tourism.

Chile’s ropeway industry continues to develop: the number of local exhibitors at EXPO ANDES continually grows, most recently from 20 percent (2015) to 26 percent (2017). Photos: EXPO ANDES

Chile: 99 days of snow

In Chile, the country that hosts the tradeshow EXPO ANDES, the number of ski visitors continually grows, currently representing over one million – and 99 days of snow – in 2018.


Francisco Sotomayor completes the figures provided by Laurent Vanat: “77 ropeways, 200 ski slopes and 63 snow cannons are currently in operation.” In his report, Vanat mentions 21 ski regions and 517,000 domestic skiers: “43 percent of the ski regions have five or more ski lifts!”

Climate change hurts Bolivia

Bolivia, on the other hand, is affected by climate change according to Vanat. The number of ski slopes permanently covered with snow continues to decrease, glaciers disappear. Chacaltaya, the world’s highest located ski region, had to discontinue operations in 2015.


And, in neighboring Columbia, it has been entirely impossible to establish any kind of winter sports industry.



Graphics: Expo Andes

„Expo Nieve“ helps Argentina


In Argentina skiing is a big topic – but due to a lack of alpine culture and relatively high cost, skiing remains an exclusive hobby. Despite this, interest in skiing continues to grow – especially thanks to the consumer show “Expo Nieve”.


And what’s more: Mexicans, Brazilians and Chileans come to ski in Argentina, too. The local 22 ski regions generate around 1.5 million skier visits per year, of which, however, a majority falls on the seven largest resorts.


Summary:  In the heartlands of the ski sport, Chile and Argentina, the signs point to growth – EXPO ANDES will contribute to this development also in 2019. ts