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ATTENTION: The reason why 1 of our posters still thinks the economy is doing great...

He is still living with the 2004 USD rates where he drinks..............

Pole Dancers in Santiago Lure Clients With 2004 Dollar Rate

March 14 (Bloomberg) -- Bikini-clad pole dancers, mini- skirted hostesses and a deal on foreign exchange await customers at Passapoga, a Santiago nightclub, who pay with U.S. dollars.

At banks and foreign-exchange bureaus, $1 fetches less than 430 pesos. Passapoga pays 600 pesos.

``This campaign has had considerable success,'' said Jaime Retamal, 55, the club's manager. ``Customers come from all over, but a lot from the U.S.''

The dollar has lost a quarter of its value against the peso in the past three years, increasing U.S. travelers' expense for hotels, taxis and restaurants in Chile. Passapoga is discounting the exchange rate to discourage Americans from cutting back on nightclub visits.

Drinks and exotic dances cost customers the same price in dollars as in 2004, when the growth of manufacturing in China and other developing countries caused demand for copper, Chile's biggest export, to surge.

Boosted by exports of the metal, which reached a record $8,820 a metric ton on March 6, Chile's trade surplus widened to $24.5 billion in 2007 from $9.6 billion in 2004. Along with interest rates at a six-year high, that increased demand for pesos.

So far this year, the currency has risen 15 percent against the dollar, the biggest gain among emerging-market currencies. On March 11, it reached 427.40, the highest since November 1997. It closed at 432.85 yesterday.

$23 Drinks

Passapoga's special exchange rate means a 14,000-peso drink with one of the club's 50 hostesses costs $23, instead of $32 at the market rate.

Patricia Kart, a Passapoga hostess for 2 1/2 years, said workers agreed to the plan even though it reduces their commissions. The promotion is bringing in more customers, she said.

``We have to take what the house gives us, and our job is to do what it takes to make the clients happy,'' Kart, 28, said in a telephone interview from the club. ``They are very content.''

For Chileans, the rising peso encourages foreign travel as it reduces the cost. Lan Airlines SA, the country's biggest air carrier, said international passenger traffic jumped 13 percent in February, Chile's traditional vacation month.

``For people that travel abroad it's a positive, lowering the plane fare, hotels, everything,'' said Francisco Errandonea, an analyst at Santiago Investment who just returned from a trip to Japan. ``It was fantastic. Things just got cheaper and cheaper.''

Those who don't travel outside Chile may still take advantage of the peso's strength -- by visiting Passapoga. They can get the discount by buying dollars at the market rate and spending them at the club.

Chileans are ``making the most of this campaign that is more oriented to foreigners,'' said Retamal, whose office sits above the club's main lounge bar, where pole dancers gyrate on stage. ``Both foreign and national tourists have increased quite a lot as a result.'' Exclusive
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