Peru: the near future of tourism is in question

Peru: the near future of tourism is in question

Expert Reports  

If more recently the Peruvian authorities enthusiastically reported on the pace of recovery of the national tourism industry, the unrest that followed the impeachment of the president of this third country in South America created new uncertainty about the future of the industry.

That all seemed more promising as on November 1, 2021, the Peruvian authorities lifted the last anti covid restrictions.

But political unrest has been reigning in the country for more than a week: after an attempt to dissolve parliament, the elected President of the Republic was dismissed, and Vice-President Dina Boluarte took his place.

According to experts, if social and political calm in Peru can be restored quickly, the damage to the domestic tourism industry will be negligible.

However, statements by the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of the United States and several member countries of the European Union, which urged their citizens to postpone any minor trips outside of Lima, the capital of Peru, and generally exercise maximum caution, cast doubt on the prospect of an early resolution of the situation.

As a result of mass protests, several people have already died, and the airport of Peru's second largest city, Arequipa, with a population of one million people, has been closed.

A state of emergency was declared in the provinces of Arequipa, Apurimac and Ica.

Protesters blocked a railway in the southeastern city of Cuzco, which is the gateway for travelers heading to the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu.

Due to protests against the new president Dina Boluarte, traffic on the railway connecting the legendary city with Cusco, located 110 kilometers away, was blocked.

As a result, up to 800 tourists of different nationalities were blocked in the area of the tourist pearl of Peru. To date, the railway is the only way to get to Machu Picchu. Faced with an emergency situation, the mayor of Machu Picchu, Darwin Baca, appealed to the Government of Peru to send helicopters to evacuate tourists. Promperu, the national organization for the development of tourism, for its part, stated that the authorities guarantee free transit and safety of foreign tourists. Promperú, through its offices and IPerú information centers located throughout the country, helped travelers to contact tour operators and official transport services.

Due to the protests that began in early December due to the crisis of power, finally the authorities closed the access to the territory of the ancient city of the Inca civilization Machu Picchu indefinitely. It is noted that this measure will be in effect until a special order of the Ministry of Culture of the country, which explains the closure as an attempt to preserve historical heritage. 

Tourism is the most important branch of the economy of the Republic of Peru, whose indigenous peoples are Indians and which is called the "land of the Incas".

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, about 4 million tourists visited the country annually, and the growth rate of tourism was 25% per year, which is higher than in all other Latin American countries.

It is easy to imagine the catastrophic situation in which the tourism industry of Peru will find itself as a result of the closure of borders and tourist sites, especially the most famous of them - Machu Picchu. The country's budget is losing revenue from its visits. So, a few days ago, the Chamber of Commerce of the city of Cuzco reported that the number of visits to Machu Picchu has decreased to 500 people.