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Transforming Travel: Embracing Sustainable, Innovative And Inclusive Practices In The Tourism Sector

Known as the “Imperial City”, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the modern seven wonders of the world, Cusco is an emblematic and special place for all the Peruvians. By hosting the 12th Tourism Ministerial Meeting in Cusco, we hope that members will get a glimpse of the best of our tourist attractions, gastronomy and cultural expressions.

Contributing to Peru’s theme for APEC 2024 of “Empower. Include. Grow”, the main objectives for this year’s ministerial meeting were centered on promoting sustainability, innovation and inclusion.

Grounded in these objectives, the technical visit to our wonderful Inca citadel of Machu Picchu was an opportunity for Peru to demonstrate its commitment to developing sustainable and innovative tourism. Initiatives that include the planning and management of this important tourist site, as well as improving its dynamic capacity, will help to preserve the buildings of Machu Picchu and the communities around it.

The Sacred Valley is the home of impressive sites such as Pisac, Ollantaytambo, Chinchero, Maras, and Moray. In these remarkable complexes, visitors discover Inca temples, cemeteries, military fortresses, even an Inca agricultural laboratory; and above all, people eager to warmly welcome them and share our culture.

The arrival of tourists to Peru from the Asia-Pacific region accounted for over 52 percent of total arrivals, representing an increase of 50 percent compared to the same period in 2023—a recovery of almost 69 percent of pre-pandemic levels for the same period.

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Just as for Peru, the impact of APEC is important for our economies. The APEC Tourism Working Group generates valuable technical information and capacity building for the tourism sector, such as guidelines, handbooks and research that contribute to both the public and private sectors.

Thanks to APEC, Peru is applying innovative ideas to improve our tourism standards. Innovation has contributed to the development of Smart Tourist Destinations, the implementation of environmental development plans in tourist areas, the application of artificial intelligence, and the use of big data to better understand travelers’ needs, among other things.

Furthermore, thanks to APEC Tourism Working Group, this year Peru is leading eight projects, which are focused on areas such as tourism formalization, creative economies for the future of tourism, carbon footprint reduction in tourism, identification of key performance indicators to promote tourist sustainable investment, guidelines for the development of meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions tourism or MICE, the use of digital tools to facilitate the entry and exit of tourists, and the development of adventure tourism products.

Our meeting over the last week resulted in a very successful and fruitful exchange of ideas, the identification of best practices, and the formulation of joint strategies that promote sustainable growth and competitiveness in the tourism industry in our region, leaving a positive legacy for future generations. We discussed a number of topics, including innovation and the use of digital tools to facilitate the transition of tourism stakeholders to the formal economy, strengthening SMEs, and enhancing the travel experience in the APEC region. We also focused our discussion on building resilient tourism, such as optimizing sustainable tourism supply chains across APEC economies.

With respect to innovation and the use of digital tools, Peru proposed a workplan aiming to develop an APEC Tourism Cooperation Platform that encourages our economies to work together and develop business opportunities. To promote sustainable tourism, Peru also proposed a principle to reduce food waste as a contribution to the “Principles for Preventing and Reducing Food Loss and Waste in APEC Economies.”

We are aware that there is still much to learn and to do, and the ministerial meeting was a perfect opportunity for continuing our work together to further develop our tourism industry in a cooperative manner.

Peru is eager to strengthen APEC initiatives that will make tourism a sustainable, innovative and inclusive sector in tune with the current circumstances. We are ready to confront the tasks ahead.

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