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Interview: Peru should boost tourism for economic growth: expert

Updated: 10 10 , 2016 14:14
Xinhua Small  Medium  Large Email Print

LIMA, Oct. 9 -- Peru should make more efforts to develop tourism for the sake of economic growth, Ricardo Aspilcueta, director of the tourism school of the National University of San Marcos, said Saturday.

"From an economic perspective, Peru should opt for tourism and not for mining or fishing" as a major driver of growth, the Peruvian tourism expert told Xinhua in an interview.

Peru's official data showed that in 2015, tourism contributed 3.9 percent to Peru's gross domestic product (GDP) and generated around 1.3 million jobs, directly and indirectly.

Aspilcueta noticed much potential yet to be tapped in the sector. "We only receive a little more than 3.5 million tourists each year," he said.

As regards the goal Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski announced in late September that the South American country will work to attract 7 million foreign tourists annually to double the current level in the next five years, Aspilcueta said "we should go beyond that and surpass 10 million."

In efforts to boost tourism, Peru is seeking more cooperation with China. Among measures to be taken are encouraging expanded investment and business of Chinese hotel chains in Peru to better serve Chinese travelers, to run publicity campaigns in big Chinese cities to promote Peru as a tourist destination, and to make possible increases in air links with China.

Peru has also reduced visa restrictions for Chinese tourists, enabling their stay for up to 150 days.

Aspilcueta believed that improving the transport infrastructure should be a top priority for Peru in order to attract more tourists.

"We need to expand air routes and improve existing air terminals so that foreign visitors can travel quickly and comfortably" to Peru, said Aspilcueta.

He believed there is an urgent need to establish Peru's air flight services to cities with tourism attractions other than the capital Lima.

"Out of the 3.5 million tourists that enter Peru annually, around 95 percent have to first arrive in Lima and this should change with the implementation of direct flights from abroad to cities such as Cusco," said the tourism expert.

Peru has to connect all the tourism sites, he added.

Aspilcueta said the average tourist spends around 1,000 U.S. dollars during a one-week stay in Peru, thus contributing to the local economy.

Also, the expert believed that Peru can benefit greatly from the current trend among global tourists to visit historical and cultural sites.

"One of the strongest trends which is being developed in the world is so-called cultural tourism and, taking into account that we don't have good beaches, the majority of visitors head to our archaeological sites such as the Inca citadel Machu Picchu and the Nazca Lines," said Aspilcueta.

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