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Peru, the richest country in the world


The definition of wealth is not limited to materialism. For Peru is a country blessed with diverse landscapes, a unique cultural heritage and a renowned cuisine. The country has about 30 million inhabitants, a third of whom live in the capital Lima. In the coming weeks, we will highlight a number of stories of entrepreneurs from different regions of this rich country. 

Tourism in Peru 

The Andes stretch from south to north and divides the country into three natural regions. The coastal strip in the west, the mountainous highlands in the middle, and the rainforest that stretches eastwards and covers 60 percent of the territory. Annually, Peru is visited by about four million tourists, a number that has grown by 8 to 10 percent per year over the past ten years. These tourists have long since ceased to come to Machu Picchu alone. Peruvian cuisine and ecotourism are the new attractions. While many tourists who visit Peru come from neighbouring countries such as Chile, Colombia and Bolivia, there has also been an increase in European visitors. 

Investing in innovation 

The Peruvian government is actively promoting the country as a tourist destination. PromPerú, part of the  Foreign Trade and Tourism Sector, is committed to putting the country on the map worldwide and is also a partner of PUM when it comes to identifying small and medium-sized enterprises in the tourism industry that have a need for help.  

Margaret Ann McDonald, coordinator at PUM of the hospitality sector: "Tourism can have a relatively large impact on a small community. The challenge is to continue investing in innovation. In many cities you see a lot of the same. All tour operators offer the same package. They must innovate, not only what they offer, but also by organising travel more effectively." César Freund, head of international cooperation at PromPerú: "They are often owners who have been in the business for decades. They do as they have always done, taking decisions based on their intuition. And the next generation is expected to continue the company in the same way. Change is rejected or difficult to implement. What is needed is increased awareness. The owners have to understand that only through change can they continue to exist." 

César Freund, Head of International Tecnhical Cooperation

Seminars for hoteliers 

César adds: "The emphasis at PromPerú is on improving the competitiveness of SMEs, increasing revenues, and creating jobs. To achieve this, we organise training courses for hotels, hotel schools and cooperatives in the tourism industry. The expertise of PUM experts can play a major role in this. For example, PUM expert Harald Kniss was called in to give a seminar in Arequipa. More than 25 hotel delegates participated in the seminar in which various marketing techniques and tools to regulate occupancy and prices were discussed. The hotel owners and staff were very happy with the recommendations and tips they received. This seminar approach worked very well and there are plans to roll it out in a similar way in other areas of Peru."  

"The cooperation with PUM is very good. It is an opportunity for us to learn about innovative solutions," says César. 

Impact measurement 

Arequipa, Peru's second largest city, is well on its way to becoming just as popular among tourists as the hotspot Cuzco. PromPerú is currently conducting a pilot programme with hotels and tour operators in Arequipa. In this pilot, the effects of training staff, improving sales techniques, operational matters, and the use of digital resources are all measured. And more importantly, what impact this has ultimately had on turnover and the increase in employment. The focus is mainly on the short-term and small investments. Once people see that it works, they will be inclined to invest more. 

César: "Looking to the future, we hope to be able to continue or even intensify our cooperation. We are very pleased with PUM's programmatic approach and we are looking at how we can benefit most from this cooperation."


Text: Gabrielle ten Bokkel Huinink 

Photography: Gabrielle ten Bokkel Huinink / PromPerú