Cuzco, Peru, Oct 24 (EFE).- More and more tourists these days seek destinations that prioritize the environment and the development of local communities, and Peru is emerging as a hotspot for this kind of sustainable tourism, according to a Commission for the Promotion of Peru for Exports and Tourism (Promperú) presentation at a climate finance conference in Cuzco.
“We are trying to incorporate this sustainability focus into our entire national promotional strategy. It represents respect for the communities and places visited as well as for both travelers and locals,” Promperú’s executive president, Angélica Matsuda, told EFE.
She defined sustainable tourism as an approach that emphasizes the protection of tourist areas, respect for cultural and natural heritage, and consideration for all people involved in the sector.
Responsible tourismMatsuda discussed this trend at the 25th International Congress of the Network of Environmental Funds of Latin America and the Caribbean (RedLAC). The congress, which began Monday in the former Incan capital, hosted 350 sustainable finance experts.
She noted that more than 60% of travelers want tourism that cares for the communities they are visiting and they hope their spending benefits these local areas.
“Optimal use of environmental resources is key to tourism development, maintaining essential ecological processes, and helping to preserve natural heritage and biodiversity,” Matsuda said in her opening speech at the international meeting, organized by Profonanpe (Peru’s environmental fund), RedLAC, and the Environmental Investment Fund of El Salvador (FIAES).
A shift is also evident in tourists’ behaviors: more than ever, they are turning off hotel air conditioners, reusing towels, recycling waste, and seeking direct contact with nature.
Sustainable destinationsThis change in travel mindset is accompanied by a shift in desired destinations. Peru offers more than just Machu Picchu and the Nazca Lines.
Promperú, which has a content-sharing agreement with EFE, promotes visits to the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve in the Amazonian department of Loreto and the Huascarán National Park, home to the White Mountain Range in the Áncash region, among others.
“Today, we have a wide variety of destinations besides the cultural ones. We’re prioritizing bird watching, nature, and adventure. For us, Peru has a lot to offer, and these are types of destinations that haven’t been extensively explored yet. Part of our promotion is targeting these segments,” Matsuda said following her address.
The president of Promperú highlighted that the Andean country has eight spots bearing the “Green Destinations” seal, an international recognition awarding sustainable tourism. “It’s a matter of pride,” she said, “because it indicates a positive result from Peru’s efforts to move towards this sustainability focus and create a form of tourism that’s friendlier, more understandable, and environmentally responsible.”
Matsuda concluded by pointing out that sustainability offers diverse investment opportunities for businesses, not only in tourism but also in sectors like renewable energy. Given its geography and territory, the Andean nation has “enormous potential” and is becoming one of the region’s most attractive destinations for clean energy. EFE