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Last Updated:[28-03-2010 23:35:51 EDT] Zoom in Zoom out Back to Tradenews

Peru Hopes Tourism Bonanza by Re-opening Machu Picchu

tradenews Machu Picchu, Peru’s largest tourist destination is all set to re-open on April 1 after it was forced to close in January due to heavy rains that destroyed railway line and main trekking route leading to this ancient Inca citadel. The Minister of Foreign Trade and Tourism of Peru, Martin Perez said the news of re-opening of the UNESCO World Heritage site had generated a huge expectation among globetrotters.

Peru’s National Institute of Culture (INC) informed that the local authorities were taking all precautionary measures to ensure the safety of the tourists. Early this year, the Peruvian government declared the whole region as an emergency zone after an Argentine tourist and a Peruvian guide were killed, the fallout of torrential rains. It had to evacuate by helicopter some 4,000 stranded tourists at Machu Picchu when part of the railway was buried in landslides.

The Lima Chamber of Commerce (CCL) is foreseeing 10 percent growth over last year’s 1mn visitors. More than two months’ closure of this historical wonder is reported to have increased bookings for flight tickets and hotels from across the world.

The President of the Tourism Committee of the CCL Alvaro Benavides said “there are a lot of expectations for the Holy Week this year we can see that bookings are increasing.” The government estimates the heavy rains of January and February has inflicted Peru’s tourism sector around $160mn in lost business.

Along with the local traders, who largely relied on revenues through tourism, the hotels are also believed to have braced for the upcoming season. The Trade and Tourism Ministry says Peru in 2009 boasts of 1,784 hotels, up from 1,358 in 2001. The number of four and five-star hotels has nearly doubled to 63 from 34 in the same period, with another seven hotels expected to be up and running by the end of 2011. The occupancy levels have considerably increased particularly because of the stupendous growth of the tourism industry.

The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) ranks Peru as the fifth fastest growing country for business travel and tourism, out of 20 in Latin America. The WTTC estimates the real impact of travel and tourism in Peru will be worth almost $10bn this year, rising to $18bn by 2020.

By Jose Roy

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