Tourism Ministry announces campaign with private sector to promote tourism in Cusco

The Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism announced a campaign starting today to promote tourism in Cusco by providing tourists a 50 percent discount on flights, hotels and tourism packages.

The “Cusco Pone” campaign is aimed at increasing tourism to the former Inca capital and surrounding attractions until repairs to the railway to Machu Picchu are completed, the ministry said in a statement.

Machu Picchu’s only access route, besides hiking, is by train. The railway to the UNESCO World Heritage site has been blocked since heavy rainfall, floods and mudslides battered the country’s southern Andean region.

Foreign Trade and Tourism Minister Martín Pérez told state news agency Andina the campaign will begin on today. The discounts will be provided first to Peruvians and then expanded during the beginning of March to visitors from other Latin American countries and by mid March to tourists from outside the region.

“This is the beginning of a large campaign we are launching,” Pérez said on Wednesday. “Right now it is aimed at the internal market, but later it will include other countries that are our priority markets and it will include other destinations in our country.”

“It is a joint effort between the public and private sectors to reactivate tourism in Cusco. The majority of the attractions are in normal condition.”

The ministry said the campaign includes 14 hotels and return airfare with two airlines – Star Perú and LAN Perú. It also includes tourism packages organized by the Cusco Association of Tourism Agencies. According to daily Peru. 21, the ministry expects to spend 1 million soles, about $345,000, on publicity in newspapers and on radio and television.

The National Institute of Culture suspended all tourism activity to the citadel on Monday until conditions improve in the area. Peruvian tourism associations estimate the damage will cost Cusco’s tourism industry $400 million and jeopardize the employment of 15,000 people.

Repairs to the train line between Ollantaytambo and Machu Picchu Pueblo – the town below the citadel – are expected to be completed by the beginning of April. Service to Aguas Calientes from the station at Piscacucho (where the trail head to the Inca Trail is located at Km82) is expected to be back up and running before the end of March.

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