Interview: Magali Silva Velarde-Álvarez
To what extent can common tourism packages between Pacific Alliance countries increase the number of foreign visitors in member states?
MAGALI SILVA VELARDE-ÁLVAREZ: Since 2014, the tourism promotion agencies of the Pacific Alliance have been working together to develop several joint actions aimed at promoting intra-regional tourism. The proximity between the member states in terms of flight duration, as well as the increase in the frequency of weekly flights between the four countries, allows both Pacific Alliance citizens and travellers coming from other regions to visit more than one destination during a single trip.
The diversity offered and the presence of products and complementary destinations by the member states are major drawing factors for visitors. Culture, adventure, eco-tourism, beaches, nice weather and a wide range of internationally acclaimed gastronomic options, among other things, also contributed to the increase in visitors to the Pacific Alliance member states. In the case of Peru, in 2014 more than 3.2m international arrivals were registered, a third of which came from other Pacific Alliance countries.
Under this scenario, the Pacific Alliance represents a significant opportunity to strengthen and promote the growth of intra-regional tourism while maintaining overall positive growth. The goal for 2016 is precisely to ensure continuity in promotional efforts.
The main advantages of promoting destinations together in long-distance markets such as China are obtained by cutting marketing costs and by gaining a desired market position as a bloc of four countries. This positioning is more attractive for Chinese tourists, who know very little of Latin American destinations and prefer to include two or three Latin American countries when they travel as part of a package tour to the region.
What can be done from a public policy standpoint to diversify the tourism offering?
SILVA: We have been very active in developing new products and supporting those which have already been implemented. To name a few, we have supported the construction of cable cars in Kuelap, which will facilitate easier access for tourists wishing to visit this architectural marvel of the Chachapoya culture. We are also participating in the works of the boardwalk of Lake Yarinacochas in the Amazon region of Ucayali and the development of the artisan town of Pucara in Puno. Another example can be seen in our capital city following the re-opening of the permanent exhibition halls of the Museum of Art of Lima, one of the most important in its field in Latin America.
How does Peru stand to benefit from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement?
SILVA: Peru will benefit in many ways when the TPP becomes effective. We will obtain preferential access to five new markets with which we did not have free trade agreements, namely Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Vietnam and Brunei Darussalam. The potential growth of our non-traditional exports to these new markets has been estimated at $ 2.25bn in fruits, vegetables, textiles and Andean grains. Also, with the TPP we will enjoy greater access to countries with which we already have bilateral agreements. More than 1000 tariff lines were excluded in the bilateral agreement with Japan, which will now enjoy preferential access, mainly in the agricultural and fisheries sector. In addition to these tariff gains, the TPP generates important opportunities for Peruvian small and medium-sized enterprises. The accumulation of new trade partners will allow companies to import and export inputs to and from any of the other 11 countries in the TPP with preferential tariffs.
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