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Peru 2017 | TOURISM | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Maria Soledad Acosta Torrelly, Director of Tourism Promotion at PromPeru, on the evolution of FDI in the country, the potential of MICE tourism, and objectives for 2016.

Maria Soledad Acosta Torrelly
BIOGRAPHY
Maria Soledad Acosta Torrelly graduated from the faculty of communication sciences, tourism, and psychology at the Universidad San Martín de Porres. From 2010 to 2014 she served as Deputy Director of Domestic Tourism Promotion at PromPeru. She is currently the Director of Tourism Promotion.

What factors accounted for the 7-8% YoY growth in tourist arrivals that Peru saw in 2015?

We have worked on strategies based on medium-term periods of three years. We have monitoring offices that regularly update us on what is happening in our markets of interest. This enables us to spot trends and react quickly to decreases in the number of tourists from one market to better target other ones. Based on this, we have implemented several campaigns targeting specific market segments that have different growth potential. Peru has maintained an interesting growth in the last decade, but the challenge has always been to keep ahead of the curve.

How has FDI evolved in the tourism industry in the last few years?

In terms of FDI in infrastructure, there are over 10 hotel projects in Lima alone for 2016. We have seen a positive trend overall, all linked to the increasing attractiveness of our country, which has achieved more than satisfactory growth at the social and economic levels, as well as political stability and security. Legislation regarding FDI in the tourism sector has also improved, making the sector more attractive for investors. This encouraged investment in that area, and we now have more flights from the north and the south to the Amazon region.

How could an influx of Asian tourists alter the Peruvian tourism industry?

We have been actively working the Asian market for the last three years. We directed our efforts at the Chinese, Korean, and Taiwanese markets and have seen positive results in these markets; last year, Korean tourists alone increased 33.8%. For this strategy, we mainly used commercial channels to target the Chinese and Korean markets through tour operators and specialized tourism packages. Machu Picchu is, and will continue to be, one of the main attractions Peru can offer these long-distance travelers.

What is the potential of MICE tourism for Peru?

Currently, MICE is one of our main focuses of growth. In the last few years, we have had a presence in the main international fairs and events focused on this particular segment. Since 2014, we have also strengthened our strategies and now we are working to attract international events. We have targeted over 150 institutions and organizations to bid for potential events. We have also managed to improve the country's position in international rankings within the MICE segment, as well as that of some of our cities. Arequipa, Cusco, Lima, and Ica are some of the areas with the most potential in this segment. We also try to consolidate the so-called Convention Bureau in the main cities across the country. This consolidation is key to increasing the promotion of the areas and the strategy behind that.

How would you assess the sector's human resources?

Education and training are two key factors in the sector that get addressed through both the public and the private sector. The technical part of our human resources is important. This becomes more relevant as the sector develops and expands its area of influence. We need to secure the balance between the specialized, skilled, and technical workers that the tourism sectors needs. The sector also seeks to boost the development of the human resource factor in areas with the greatest potential. We need to be ready to meet the demands of the market as this evolves, and search for areas of specialization.

What are your objectives for 2016?

We want to maintain our growth rate from 2015, as well as to keep growing and positioning Peru in the Asian market. We will strengthen our relation with the sector and continue our search for partnerships and alliances when it comes to multi-destination packages. We need to further leverage the long-distance air connections we have while searching for complementary trends with other countries and encouraging those people on transfer to stay here. We will also continue our work on regional markets as well as the US with digital marketing tools.