For tourism, Peru is eyeing the Indian market with renewed vigour, anticipating a return to pre-pandemic levels of visitors by the end of the year.
From approximately 1,500 Indian visitors back in 2014, when Peru’s trade office in India was established, to 10,000 when the Covid-19 crisis struck, Peru hasn’t really struck big where India’s total outbound tourism is concerned. But, as per Luis Cabello, Economic & Commercial Counsellor in the Peruvian Embassy, “India is back on the Peruvian tourism map.”
“We see the numbers of Indian visitors to Peru steadily increasing. It is expected that by the end of the year, they will approach the levels seen before the pandemic,” assured Cabello. Looking ahead, he noted, “For next year, we aim to welcome at least 50 percent more tourists. India is a key market for us, and we plan to reestablish our presence here.”
To achieve this goal, the Commission for the Promotion of Peruvian Exports and Tourism (PROMPERU), the official tourism promotion board of Peru, is embarking on a two-city roadshow in India. This event, spanning New Delhi and Mumbai, seeks to engage with a minimum of 50 potential Indian travel companies in each city. The roadshow (held on October 13 in Delhi & October 16 in Mumbai) has workshops and will be a key platform for fostering partnerships, enhancing lead generation, and educating Indian travellers about the opportunities that await them in Peru.
The roadshow follows a pre-fixed meeting format, with each travel agent granted 15 minutes of one-on-one interaction. “Followed by these roadshows in India, we plan to participate in other major international tourism trade shows within the market. We’re also planning to organise another roadshow next year to engage more Peruvian DMCs, along with businesses in the tourism sector, such as hotels, restaurants, and international airlines,” Cabello announced.
Speaking during the roadshow launch event, Javier Paulinich, Ambassador of Peru to India, emphasised the significance of the year as it marks 60 years of diplomatic relations between Peru and India. “Among the various activities and initiatives we’ve undertaken, a central focus is the recent resumption of negotiations on a trade agreement. Peru has now become a key priority for India, and this agreement encompasses vital sectors, including investment services and tourism. This presents a unique window of opportunity to bolster our relationship with India,” he said.
Catering to evolving preferences
Diving further into statistics, Cabello shared that the Indian travellers are projected to spend nearly USD 2 billion on international travel, and by 2025, this number could reach USD 42 billion. “With this, we expect Indian travellers to explore more of Peru beyond Machu Picchu, including places like Colca Canyon, UNESCO-listed Nazca Lines, Puno, Arequipa and more.”
Another notable aspect here is that the Indian travellers have evolved into more discerning and adventurous explorers seeking new experiences, and Peru offers a plethora of such experiences to offer, asserted Cabello. “The focus is now on tapping into this specific market. Rather than being concerned about becoming an overcrowded destination, the goal is to market Peru as a unique destination packed with different experiences for these travellers.”
In places like Cusco and Puno, the itineraries engage passengers with local communities. They experience local food, visit farms, even participate in everyday activities, learn about their traditions and use their tools. “We cater to passengers’ preferences, offering various ways to immerse in our culture. Festivals in Cusco are another great opportunity for international visitors to connect with locals. Additionally, in different regions, tourists can learn about Peruvian cuisine, preparing national dishes like ceviche in Lima and more alike. Our aim is to ensure the involvement of local communities while promoting unique forms of tourism,” he added.
He also highlighted India’s profound interest in gastronomy, adding that Peru boasts a number of Indian restaurants featuring Indian chefs who cater to the specific demands of Indian tourists. An interesting revelation from a PROMPERU presentation, also noted that by 2023, an estimated 277,651 foreign tourists are expected to travel to Peru, with one of their primary motivations being the opportunity to savour its delectable cuisine.
Notably, gastronomy ranks as the third most compelling reason to visit Peru, trailing only behind the allure of Machu Picchu and the desire to delve into the country’s rich culture and history.
Visa & connectivity
The ease of the visa process is another encouraging factor for Indian travellers to choose Peru, assured Cabello. Those with Australian, UK, US, or Schengen visas with a six-month validity do not require an additional visa to visit Peru. Even for those who do need a visa, the Consular Section processes visa applications promptly, typically within five working days. Furthermore, Peru offers online interviews for added convenience, simplifying the process for Indian tourists.
In regard to flight connectivity, Cabello noted that there are currently no direct flights from India to Peru. However, there are direct flight options from European cities to Peru, which is advantageous as it eliminates the need for a transit visa.
“We are currently in advanced discussions with multiple airlines, with a particular focus on those preferred by Indian travellers for international journeys,” Cabello hinted, acknowledging India’s strong preference for airlines like Emirates and Qatar Airways.
He further emphasised the significance of trade agreements with India, which are expected to bolster connectivity in both directions. “As we become more active in the tourism industry and marketing, we aim to establish more direct flight routes connecting India and Peru,” he expressed.
Additionally, he highlighted that the recent announcement of LATAM launching direct flights from London to Lima on December 2 will be a significant enhancement in terms of connectivity.