Just say ‘no’ to Peru’s proposed tourist visa

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to charge visitors to enter Peru.

While the Peruvian press has basically represented this as a simple fee to be paid upon arrival, it is possible that such a proposal would actually be much more draconian.

 

The Peruvian government is apparently working on a plan Speaking to El Peruano, Manuel Talavera from the Ministry of Foreign Relations’ section on consular affairs said that, “The only thing that we would do is take the countries [that require visas or fees of Peruvian travelers]off the exonerated list which currently exists.” That is, travelers from North America, Europe, Australia and Asia would be treated exactly like the visitors from 99 countries who currently need a visa to enter Peru.

So, travelers would presumably be required to provide their round-trip tickets, two passport photos, copies of bank statements and $30, all of which is currently required of applicants for Peruvian tourist visas.

In general, we gringos have a very low tolerance for bureaucracy. We are wimps. We are absolutely traumatized by the forty minutes we have to spend at the Department of Motor Vehicles to renew our driver’s licenses once every five or ten years. When we describe a phone call we have made to the bank, we make it sound like we’ve just survived the Hunger Games. A visa for Peru? I think that’s a great way to promote tourism for Ecuador, Tikal or Chichen Itzá.

There’s not much of a pay-off to requiring the visas, either. The government would earn up to $1 million per month, which is to say, virtually nothing. That trifling amount of money would be destined to Peruvian consulates around the world, according to Talavera, to buy new computers, improve websites and hire more workers. Oh, and according to Talavera, it is also a question of “self-esteem.”

You know what would probably be better for self-esteem? The economic vibrancy brought by tourism, which can actually make Peru a better place to live. It can bring much-needed income to impoverished rural communities, promote the preservation of the country’s natural and architectural marvels and generate stable, formal employment.

Certainly, there are steps that could, and should, be taken so that tourism more greatly benefits the Peruvian people. However, throwing up obstacles for visitors who want to come here and spend money is not the way forward.

“We think that for $30, people won’t stop visiting Peru,” said Talavera. I agree. But for $30 and a handful of bureaucratic steps? I guess we will find out.
A new proposal would require tourist visas for visitors to Peru. Nick Rosen argues that it’s a bad idea.

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