Lima, capital of Peru, will welcome the World Travel Awards South & Central America Gala Ceremony this weekend, capping the destination’s rise as a tourism superpower.
Here Breaking Travel News chats with María del Carmen de Reparaz, director of tourism promotion, PromPeru, to discuss the secrets behind the country’s success.
Breaking Travel News: Many travellers will be familiar with the highlights of Peru, including Machu Picchu, but can you tell us a little about what else the destination has to offer?
María del Carmen de Reparaz: Our wonderful Machu Picchu is definitely a symbol of Peru and Inca Culture for the world´s eyes, but Peru has certainly so much more to offer.
We have a unique geography that offers sandy beaches, dunes, of course the Andes, and a wide variety of forests, the Amazon included.
We are as well a melting pot of cultures; this is what makes us unique and interesting for travellers.
For example we have the Moche Route that involves Peru´s Mochica culture, ancient Peruvians who lived in the Northern coast of Peru before Incas time, they were the ones that built the most magnificent clay city in the Americas, as well as achieved the highest levels of artistry in pottery and jewellery making.
Moche remains can be found in the Trujillo and Chiclayo regions, places where people still keep some of the customs of their ancestors, such as fishing in totora (reed) boats and pottery.
The North coast also has one of the most delicious cuisines in the country.
For the ones that enjoy culture but with a twist of adventure and nature, there is an excellent off-the-beaten-track option, this is Chachapoyas and Kuelap located in the Northern Amazon area.
Chachapoyas is also a pre Inca culture, also known as “the people of the clouds” as they constructed stone cities in very high places; this is an excellent trip for trek enthusiasts.
The Amazon was selected as one of the World´s Seven Natural Wonders not so long ago, so Chachapoyas can perfectly be part of a trip to the Amazon Area.
These are just a couple of options, but the bottom line I would like to focus on is that Peru has an option for every kind of traveller, whether they are coming on a family trip or on a honey moon, or with friends, Peru has now a wide variety of touristic services available from luxury to standard services, we are not just the mystical and exotic country, which we are proud to be, but also we offer the best travel experience.
BTN: PromPeru recently launched an advertising campaign under the headline ‘Peru, land of hidden treasures’. Can you tell us about the inspiration behind this campaign? How was it received in key international markets?
MCR: Yes, the campaign ‘Peru, land of hidden treasures’ was launched in late 2012. The idea behind this spot - that has the format of a movie trailer- is to involve the spectator and provoke emotions on them.
Under the slogan “Don´t watch the movie, live it for real” we want to invite potential travellers to come to Peru and let them know that we have many more places to offer besides Machu Picchu, and that we have a solid offer of tourism facilities, that yes: we are an exotic place but we also have top hotels and a luxury offer of services for travelers.
This campaign involved an important investment, both for the creation and production as well as for the communications and marketing actions.
So far it has been launched in our key markets, such as the United Kingdom, Canada, EEUU, Argentina, Chile, Brazil, France, Germany, Spain and Italy. In 2013, we will present it in South Korea, China, Japan, Australia and Mexico.
The campaign has been received wonderfully, for example, in December it was used in our stand at the World Travel Market, and we were surprised to know that there was an award for the best use of video as a marketing tool, which was given to Peru.
We received excellent feedback, which makes us very happy; this has set a milestone for Peru in terms of what we had ever done to promote our country abroad.
BTN: Which markets to do you see growing in importance for Peru over the next five years?
MCR: Asia and emerging markets such as Russia will gain more importance for us in the next years.
So far Japan is already the most important Asian market for us right now, but other countries as South Korea are gaining presence in the market share for us.
This is a reflection of the world´s economy; the income in Asian markets is increasing which is reflected in a higher demand of luxury products and services. In this sense, we are very interested in spreading to these markets.
This year we will host preliminary activities for the tourism trade in the emerging Asian countries, such as Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan and India. We look forward for the results of this first approach.
BTN: Peru is famous as the leading culinary destination in South America. What do you think it is that puts the country on the map in this regard?
MCR: Yes, and not only South America, Peru was chosen as the World’s Leading Culinary Destination at the last edition of the World Travel Awards too.
Food is a reason of pride for Peruvians so being recognised for our food is wonderful.
What makes us excellent in gastronomy is the variety of native products combined with a new generation of very committed chefs that work incessantly to put our cuisine in the world´s eyes, opening top restaurants in some of the most important cities.
Peruvians are very exigent with food; many say we have a difficult palate when we go abroad.
I think this could be another motive too, we do not accept an “ok” food, we expect our food to be perfect, and this reflects on what the rest of the world perceives.
BTN: As you mentioned, Peru was recently recognised by the World Travel Awards. How did it feel to claim this prestigious honour? How do you feel to be hosting the event?
MCR: The World Travel Awards recognition has been very important for us; it was a reason of joy for Promperú and all Peruvians.
This award makes us want to work harder to put Peru in the tourism world map, this is not only a commitment of Promperú as the country´s tourism board but also the commitment of the tourism industry altogether; we work very closely for the same goal and the results are being very positive.
In this sense, we are very exciting to be the host of the event this year; it is a unique opportunity that will be very beneficial for everybody. We look forward to welcoming you all in a few months.
For more information on visiting Peru take a look at the official website.