More than one million people will benefit from improvements in tourism services, appropriate solid waste management and disaster protection and prevention measures in the areas of Cusco, Calca and Urubamba, thanks to a US$35 million project by the World Bank that forms part of a broader Cusco Regional Government program.
“Realizing the implementation of a comprehensive program for the leading tourist site in the country is extremely important to Cusco’s Regional Government, because it will allow us —four decades after planting the seed of development based on leveraging our cultural heritage— to reinforce management, make its development sustainable and expand its benefits to the region. The idea is to establish the conditions to develop one of our strategic pillars, while committing ourselves to the construction of Chinchero International Airport, thus expanding and diversifying a tourist attraction that is currently too concentrated,” said engineer Helio Molina Aranda, Executive Director of PER Plan COPESCO.
Tourism in Peru has increased in a sustained way from 1.1 million to 2.8 million international visitors between 2002 and 2012, while foreign currency earnings have increased fourfold from US$837 million to US$3.288 billion in the same period. Moreover, tourism provides more than one million direct and indirect jobs, contributing with 3.7 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product.
“We are extremely satisfied with this joint project with the Cusco Regional Government, as it will help improve infrastructure and services in a region that accounts for 88 percent of the country’s incoming tourism,” said Susan Goldmark, World Bank Regional Director for Bolivia, Chile, Peru and Venezuela.
The project, which is to be implemented by the Cusco Regional Government’s PER Plan COPESCO, focuses on infrastructure investments to improve the tourist experience in Pisac, Ollantaytambo and the tourist circuit around the Sacred Valley of the Incas in Calca, Cusco and Urubamba provinces.
In the case of Pisac, as well as improving pedestrian accesses to the archeological Park and sign posts, construction will include hygienic services, an interpretation center, an artisans’ market, a pedestrian bridge and a nine kilometer stretch of road to improve access to tourist buses, as well as slope stabilization works to reduce natural risks. In the case of Ollantaytambo, it will also improve access to the Pumamarka archeological site and complementary tourist services.
Via an in-project pilot program, small and medium sized tourist companies will be able to bid for funds to increase productivity. Furthermore, it will evaluate traditional tourist attractions to establish maximum capacity, appropriate pricing, maintenance and operational costs and income distribution mechanisms. Coordination between the public and private sectors will be crucial to improving services, preserving archeological remains and ensuring that the benefits of tourism in the Cusco region reach the underprivileged.
The second component of the project includes comprehensive solid waste management in Cusco, Calca and Urubamba provinces; to this end it will professionalize and expand the capacity to sweep, collect, transport and dispose of solid waste in an efficient manner via landfill infrastructure. Equally, it will place special emphasis on improving communication and education in these areas, key to the sustainable development of the population in Cusco Region.
Lastly, the third component will design and implement early warning systems to prevent overflows and flooding in the Vilcanota and Patacancha rivers in the Sacred Valley and Ollataytambo; it will also design and implement a comprehensive approach to reduce archeological and climate risks in the K’tamayu micro-basin in Pisac. It will undertake studies and make recommendations to mitigate natural disaster risks in the Ccochoq river basin in Calca, complementing with prospective disaster risk management instruments.
The entire program entails a US$75 million investment which, set against the Peruvian State’s National Investment System, makes it the most important in the country; thus, this World Bank contribution represents not just financing, but also technical cooperation for sustained development. The US$35 million loan has a variable margin, a 7-year maturity period and includes a 4.5-year grace period.