In 2019, the tourism sector contributed 3.9% to GDP and directly generated 725 980 jobs which represented 4.1% of Peru’s employed economically active population. The tourism sector’s contribution decreased to 1.5% of Peru’s GDP, and tourism jobs more than halved to 353 552. Foreign exchange revenues totalled just over PEN 3.5 billion, 79% less than in 2019.

With a total of 897 000 international tourists in 2020, inbound tourism decreased by almost 80% compared to 2019, when there were 4.4 million international tourists. This declined further in 2021, when Peru recorded 444 000 international arrivals, down 50% compared to 2020 and 90% below 2019 levels. Arrivals from the United States rebounded to 177 000, representing 39.8% of total tourists in 2021. Tourists from Chile, historically the top source market, remained low (37 000 tourists compared to 1.2 million in 2019).

Domestic tourism is the driver of tourism in Peru, with 48.6 million domestic tourists in 2019. Domestic tourism was hard hit by the pandemic and remained low in 2021, with 15.6 million tourists, up 8.3% compared to 2020, although still down 70% from pre-pandemic levels.

Given the pace of recovery of tourist trips observed to date, it is unlikely that inbound tourism will reach pre-pandemic levels before 2025 or 2026.

The Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism (MINCETUR) is the tourism sector’s lead political and administrative authority. Its role is to define, direct, execute and co-ordinate the country’s foreign trade and tourism policy in harmony with the general policy of Peru.

The Vice Ministry for Tourism, part of MINCETUR, oversees the General Directorate of Tourism Development Policy, which is responsible for implementing, evaluating and supervising compliance with tourism policy. The Directorate also formulates and implements actions to improve the quality of tourism services, its environmental management, tourism facilitation, tourist protection, and the promotion of culture. The Vice Ministry for Tourism oversees the General Directorates of Research and Studies on Tourism and Handicrafts, Tourism Strategy, Crafts, and Casino Games and Slot Machines.

MINCETUR has two Specialised Advisory Bodies - the Tourism Advisory Committee and the National Council for Handicraft Development. Two other bodies attached to the Ministry are the Tourism Training Centre (CENFOTUR) and the Exports and Tourism Promotion Board of Peru (PROMPERÚ). Peru’s Commercial Offices Abroad are operated by PROMPERÚ.

Regional governments are responsible for formulating, approving and executing policies relating to the development of regional tourist activity, qualification of regional tourist service providers, and co-ordination with local governments on tourism activities. They also maintain and update directories of tourism service providers, tourism resources, and regional events calendars.

The 2021 Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism budget was PEN 253 million. The budget for the Tourism Promotion Board was PEN 239.6 million, and the budget for the Tourism Training Centre was PEN 15 million. In 2020, the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism budget was PEN 750 million due to additional financial transfers for the Repatriation Programme implemented by Peru during the COVID-19 pandemic, which provided hotel accommodation to Peruvian citizens repatriated from abroad. The Tourism Promotion Board’s budget was PEN 76 million, and the Tourism Training Centre’s budget was PEN 7 million.

In response to the pandemic, a Technical Committee for the Reactivation of the Tourism Sector in the Cusco Region (public and private mechanism) has been promoted to provide social solutions in five working subgroups: public investment; planning and management; support to entrepreneurs; facilitation and regulations; and tourism promotion. The Committee’s main achievement has been the increase in the capacity for the entry of tourists to the Machu Picchu Archaeological Site.

Peru has developed two management instruments in response to the pandemic: the Tourism Sector Emergency Plan to 2023 and the National Strategy for the Tourism Sector Reactivation 2022-25 (see box below).

Under the Plan, a number of initiatives have taken place, including:

  • The Guide of Regional Tourism Marketing Plans, developed by PROMPERÚ in agreement with the Swiss Import Promotion Programme. This is a step-by-step guide for the development of a regional marketing plan. A related training programme was signed with several regional governments.

  • The Programme to Stimulate Business Competitiveness, launched in 2020. It was composed of 19 courses designed to strengthen the competitiveness of tourism MSMEs. More than 200 companies participated in the online sessions nationwide.

  • The Virtual Classroom, launched in 2021, as an online educational platform that allows entrepreneurs, students and other interested parties access to training and certification on topics related to commercial matters, digital tools, innovation and commercial intelligence. The Virtual Classroom has more than 5 000 users nationwide.

  • The Peru Carbon Footprint Scheme, which has registered 27 hotels, demonstrating their commitment to reducing their greenhouse gas emissions and environmental impact.

  • The Business Support Fund for SMEs in the tourism sector (FAE-Turismo) was established as a special guarantee fund of PEN 200 million. It was created to promote access to financing for micro and small tourism businesses affected by the adverse international and local context. This fund benefitted 1 969 enterprises across 23 regions in 2020-21.

MINCETUR and CENFOTUR have also been working on the Good Practices Application System, the principal scheme designed for tourism service providers, incorporating content relating to service management, environmental management and health security.

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