One of the most special things about traveling is how much people care about their journey having a positive impact on their conscience, but even more on the places they visit. Aside from creating unforgettable travel experiences and working with travelers in customizing their vacation in Peru and Latin America, we truly believe in benefiting local communities in the places we operate.
Social media has allowed us to further our reach and engagement with passionate travelers from around the world, prompting interesting discussions.
In many instances it is easier to see the failures and problems caused by a certain matter than the positives and benefits. We had an interesting social media engagement earlier this week that has inspired us to highlight the positive impacts of tourism and travel to Peru.
♦ The raised issue about tourism in Peru
Having posted the picture above on our Instagram account we received the following eloquent message from one of our more engaged Instagramers:
What is your stance on the huge dichotomy between the “luxury” of Peru and the poverty and living conditions of the Peruvian people? I just returned from Peru and stayed at some extremely luxurious properties/took the orient express train, etc. All the while, indigenous people 4 blocks from a 5-star hotel don’t even have sanitation. It was tough for me to live the lap of luxury on the orient express train…as we passed by people without basics who are living on the rail road tracks. Especially knowing that the cost of a one night stay or a 2 hour train ride could feed a Peruvian family for 6 months. Your thoughts?
An interesting statement covering a wide range of interesting travel issues to say the least. Both sides of this argument have extremely valid points. The travel industry is something that we are extremely passionate about and devoted to and it is something that drives everyone working with us forward into achieving our travel goals. One of our standout points is the fact that as well as having an office in the United States, many of us work and live in the destinations we provide throughout Latin America. We are here on the ground and while providing travel experiences we always want to have a positive impact on the destination. While the economic or social issues within the developing region of Latin America may be a shock to the system we feel it can in many ways help to improve the situation and develop the country beyond its wildest dreams.
♦ Enjoy Peru’s culture & history for years to come
Visitors to the magical Machu Picchu citadel are said to generate average annual revenues of about US$35.9million. These types of figures have therefore spearheading an increase in importance and focus on Peru’s conservation and preservation of natural, cultural and historical sites. One particular area of this is in the wide range of local festivals and cultural events that take place on a yearly basis. The encouragement of the preservation and celebration of festivals both large and small has raised the awareness of the cultural richness of Peru and has increased the strength of Peruvian national identity.
In 2014, 1.6 million travelers are expected to visit Peru for what has been termed ‘gastronomic tourism’ and are expected to generate US$1 billion for the Peruvian economy.
Promoting the delicious dishes of Peru has been another matter that has taken Peru and its wealth of culture and history onto the international stage. Preserving Peru’s food culture and history dating back to the time of the Incas as well as today, creating jobs through new restaurants among other related services being provided will help to maintain the strong Peruvian culture.
♦ Sleep easy at night
Approximately 80% of any trip is spent on accommodation which is why we carefully choose which hotels and experiences we provide. The majority of our luxury hotels that we work with in Peru are part of the Inkaterra chain which prides itself on its Inkaterra Association that provides environmental education at schools, training programs for local communities, conservation, and communal development programs.
Travel can therefore not only better the accommodation provided but it can work in conjunction with conservation projects.
With the Peruvian Amazon growing in popularity both in terms of international and domestic visitors due to the improvement of the infrastructure, you might think that the environmental challenges would be cast to one side. Peru takes its conservation extremely seriously and at the Tambopata National Reserve, a number of ecotourism lodges are being constructed around the buffer zone in order to accommodate the growing number of visitors. Only three authorized ecotourism lodges currently operate within the Tambopata Reserve therefore ensuring that there is a tight control on tourism within this delicate natural environment.
♦ Development of Peru
Peru’s President, Ollanta Humala, is very focused on increasing the travel and tourism industry in Peru as a result of its positive generation of both jobs, GDP growth and the overall development of Peru. Travel and tourism in Peru currently generates more than US$19.6 billion and over 1.2 million direct and indirect jobs.
These figures are astounding when you consider that travel and tourism now accounts for 9% of Peru’s economy and 1 in 12 of all jobs in the country!
As traveler numbers to Peru continue to grow year on year, more hotels covering the different categories will be needed. According to the Convention and Visitors Bureau of Lima, the Peruvian hotel sector is set to break its own historical records and is on course to grow between 13% and 15% just in 2014. The stunning colonial city of Arequipa looks set to be part of this growth declaring to invest US$25 million in four hotel chains. There is no doubt that this will have a positive impact on Arequipa creating local jobs and business opportunities directly related to tourism as well as those indirectly supporting tourism such as restaurants and the improvement of infrastructure.
♦ Time for some reflection
Marcel Proust said, ‘the real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes’ and we strongly believe that travel and tourism can have a positive effect on the economy and development of a country. More importantly, it can open up the traveler’s eyes to the world around them once they are back home, perhaps prompting them to engage more with the social or economical problems facing their home country.
‘The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes’ – Marcel Proust
We love hearing from travelers about their different experiences and recommendations from across Latin America, so if you’ve got a burning issue or question related to travel or tourism in the region, make sure to leave your comments at the end of this article.