Puno authorities plan tourist campaign to restore image

Puno’s regional office for foreign trade and tourism (Dircetur) is planning a campaign aimed at promoting tourism to the southern Peruvian department following weeks of protests against mining concessions, state news agency Andina reported.

The campaign will aim to promote the local population, the region’s art, culture and tourist circuit, which includes Lake Titicaca, the world’s highest navigable lake.

Dircetur head Lourdes Abarca said the office will seek support from Peru’s export and tourism agency Promperu to promote and organize the campaign.

“The vandalistic acts [from the protests] affects our image, but Puno isn’t like that,” Abarca said. “We aren’t going to remain with crossed arms. We will keep working to develop tourist products and strengthen the [tourist] circuit.”

Aymara peoples from the southern Puno region began protests on May 9 calling for the cancellation of mining concessions in the region and the withdrawal of junior Canadian company Bear Creek Mining, which has the Santa Ana silver project in Puno. The protests have built up since then, and thousands of Aymara men and women have marched into the Quechua city of Puno demanding solutions from the government.

Regional authorities announced this week that about 300 tourists had been stranded in Puno and that more than 200 had managed to leave the area.

The tourists were able to leave the region through the airport at Juliaca.

Many of the tourists, taken out of Puno on the small launches to visit the Uros and Taquile and Amantaní islands, spent a night on the islands and sought other exits from Puno the following day, while others returned to the city of Puno in the evening and went ashore at different hotel piers under dark, a lakefront source told Peruvian Times recently.

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