In Peru, we are proud that the world sees us as a tourist country. A bucket list destination that must be visited at least once in a lifetime. What makes us so attractive? The answer seems obvious: our cultural, archaeological and gastronomic heritage.
While these are powerful “magnets,” there is a fourth great “magnet.” Our Natural Protected Areas, authentic treasures of biodiversity, such as the National Reserves of Ballestas Islands, Paracas, Titicaca, Pacaya Samiria and Tambopata; or the Huascarán and Manu National Parks.
Maybe you think that nature tourism is a small segment. There goes the data: in 2018 we received 4.4 million foreigners (Mincetur). It turns out that 908,000 went to a Natural Protected Area (Sernanp); that is, 1 out of 4 tourists. The potential is tremendous!
Therefore, the recent signing of the Natural Heritage of Peru (PdP) agreement is excellent news. This association of public and private actors, led by the Government (through Sernanp, Minam and Profonanpe), will contribute $140 million US dollars over the next decade. Never had a similar amount been managed to protect the forests and strengthen their management.
This is key because many are vulnerable because of drug trafficking, informal mining and illegal logging, which threaten the sustainability and bring insecurity. Improving these aspects is relevant for 330,000 Peruvians who depend on forests for their livelihood and, of course, for tourists. International donors such as WWF, Moore Foundation and Andes Amazon Fund guarantee seriousness and transparency. However, it is up to all of us to become aware and take care of our invaluable natural heritage so that it continues to amaze future generations.
By: Juan Stoessel
(Cover Photo Archive)