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Travel & Tourism | July 18, 2011 [ 13:14 ]

Garcia inaugurates 66-km highway linking Peru and Ecuador


Peruvian President Alan Garcia inaugurates 66-km highway. (Photo: Sepres)

Peruvian President Alan García Pérez traveled Monday to the northern Piura region to inaugurate a 66-kilometer highway which will link the country with neighboring Ecuador.

The president was accompanied by Transport and Communications Minister Enrique Cornejo and some regional and local authorities during his 273rd working trip since taking office.

The new highway will reduce travel time between Sullana in Piura and Alamor in Loja, Ecuador, from four and a half hours to one and a half hours.

The project required an investment of 74.8 million soles (about US$27 million) and will benefit 287,690 people in the area.

The construction work was carried out by Compañía Verdu S.A., generating 2,500 jobs.

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Travel & Tourism | July 13, 2011 [ 10:06 ]

Casa Andina to open hotels in northern Peru


The Casa Andina project in Chiclayo.

CHICLAYO--Peruvian chain Casa Andina plans to open new hotels in the northern cities of Piura, Cajamarca, Trujillo and Tarapoto in the upcoming four years, Casa Andina general manager Juan Stoessel said Tuesday.

“Our plan over the next four years is to develop and promote the northern region, which is why we aim to have presence in the entire corporate circuit of that part of the country,” Stoessel stated.

Read about Juan Stoessel in "15 Peruvians of 2010."

He noted that these new projects will be carried out under the Select format (four-star business-oriented hotels) and the Classic format (four-star hotels).

Furthermore, the general manager reported that Casa Andina is expected to open its Select format hotel in the city of Chahapoyas (Amazonas region) on August 1, and its first Select hotel in Lima’s Miraflores district in October.

In addition, Casa Andina announced the investment of US$2.5 million for its hotel in Chiclayo to turn it into the first hotel under the Select format in that city.

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Travel & Tourism | July 8, 2011 [ 16:57 ]

Photos of Machu Picchu at night

Last night Machu Picchu was lit up for its 100 year anniversary celebration.

A motorized paraglider did a surprise flyover. (Photo: Musuk Nolte/El Comercio)

(Photo: Musuk Nolte/El Comercio)

Tania Libertad performs. (Photo: Andina)

Below, President Alan García was present. He told reporters upon arriving that Machu Picchu represented a "synthesis of Peruanidad." He also mentioned that he stayed at the ruins for 40 days when he was 20 years old, living in a stone hut among with backpackers.
Photo: Andina

There were also celebrations in Cusco.

Photo: Andina

(Photo: Andina)

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Travel & Tourism | July 7, 2011 [ 11:03 ]

PHOTOS: Preparations for Machu Picchu 100 year celebration

See images from the sound and light checks for today's celebration at Machu Picchu.

All photos are by Alberto Obregoso for Andina news agency.

Machu Picchu 100 years
TV crews set up for today's broadcasts.

Machu Picchu 100 years
Andean rock group Los Jaivas do a sound check.

Machu Picchu 100 years
A night view from the classic Machu Picchu photo op.

Machu Picchu 100 years
Light checks at Machu Picchu.

Machu Picchu 100 years
Light checks at the Inca citadel.

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Travel & Tourism | July 6, 2011 [ 18:29 ]

Live updates: Peru celebrates 100 years of Machu Picchu


The celebrations have begun in Cusco for Machu Picchu's centennial. Check back here for updates as the festivities unfold.

3 p.m.

President Alan García arrives to celebrations, and while still huffing from the climb, tells reporters that he once lived at Machu Picchu for 40 days.

“I lived in one of the houses for 40 days when I was 20 years old,” García said while pointing to the stone hut structures. “I recited Pablo Neruda at night.”

García, who is now 62, described a free-spirited scene at Machu Picchu in what would have been 1969. “There were a lot of young foreign visitors, Argentinean songs, sambas, Spaniards who sang songs from the Civil War… We had long debates over politics, philosophy, anarchism, Marxism. It was a beautiful experience, one of those that mark your life.”


12:39 p.m.
The Chilean group Los Jaivas play the famous "Alturas de Machu Picchu"

 Watch live transmission:

12:30 p.m.
Photos: 100 years of Machu Picchu:

12:23 p.m.
Tourists worldwide to travel free to Machu Picchu, view details here.
Photo contest:

12:12 p.m.
The morning sun in Cusco. A beautiful day to celebrate Machu Picchu. (Photo: Andina)

11:42 a.m.
Visit BBC Mundo for a slideshow of vintage photographs of Bingham's expedition.

11:25 a.m.
Between 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. a greeting to Machu Picchu is expected in the Inca citadel, with the staging of the traditional Tinkay ceremony and a salute from the Cuatro Suyos.

At 9 a.m. this morning, the great artistic and cultural festival took place in the various plazas in the city of Cusco, including Regocijo, Espinar, San Francisco, San Blas, Santa Teresa, Los Pumas and the Plaza de Armas.

11:23 a.m.
Peruvian President Alan Garcia traveled to Cusco to participate in the 100th anniversary celebrations of Machu Picchu.

The main day of celebration started early this morning at 6 a.m. hours with a 21-gun salute in the Imperial City.

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Travel & Tourism | July 6, 2011 [ 9:41 ]

500 million people around the world will watch Machu Picchu centennial celebration

Tomorrow the main celebration will take place in Machu Picchu, Cusco. (Photo:
Tomorrow, Thursday, marks the 100 years of the rediscovery of Machu Picchu. For such a historic occasion, the president of the organizing committee, Ricardo Vega Llona, ​​states that at least 500 million people around the world will view the event scheduled in the ancient Inca city.

More than 15 international channels, including NHK in Japan, will broadcast the event, reports Tnews. Meanwhile, TV Peru will transmit the celebrations all over the country in digital and analog signals. Vega Llona stresses that everything is ready for the main celebrations to take place in the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu.

It's estimated that the archaeological monument would receive 3.200 visitors tomorrow, while 8,000 to 10,000 people will see the event (which includes a lights and sound show) on a big screen placed in the city of Cusco.

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Travel & Tourism | July 6, 2011 [ 9:13 ]

Video: Air France inaugurates direct route Paris - Lima

Air France resumes Paris - Lima flights (Photo: Andina)

After 16 years, Air France once again offers the direct route Paris - Lima. The inaugural flight took place on June 21 (see video below) and since then has been operating five weekly flights between the two capital cities.

Air France-KLM Group adds on these 5 new flights out of Paris to the already 7 flights operated by KLM out of Amsterdam, reports The Financial. The Group is the leading carrier between Lima and Europe (12 weekly flights) in terms of frequencies, allowing Peru to be connected to 254 destinations via the Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport and Amsterdam Airport Schiphol.

Paris - Lima flights operate on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday by Boeing 777-200 jetliners carrying 309 passengers.

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Travel & Tourism | July 5, 2011 [ 13:44 ]

NY Times, LA Times, WSJ coverage on Machu Picchu


We continue to celebrate the 100 years of the rediscovery of Machu Picchu. Here, excerpts from three must-read features on the ancient Inca city.

Wall Street Journal - In a Lost City, Finding Yourself

"Like Bingham, Mark Adams was bored with his day job (in his case, not professor but magazine editor). And like Bingham, he became obsessed with romantic, remote Machu Picchu. So, as the centennial of its "discovery" neared, Mr. Adams decided to retrace Bingham's three Peruvian expeditions."

Los Angeles Times - 100 Facts for 100 years of Machu Picchu

"25. When you enter Machu Picchu, you'll see why it's been designated one of the best-preserved pre-Columbian ruins in the world.

26. Machu Picchu was, not surprisingly, declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1983.

27. Hiram Bingham didn't really discover Machu Picchu; the residents knew it was there, and a local Quechua-speaking guide, Melchor Arteaga, is said to have led him there."

New York Times - The Hidden Route to Machu Picchu

"I wondered if it was still possible to detour from the modern, tourist path and arrive in the same way Bingham had — by taking the scenic route. Aided by John, a 58-year-old Australian expatriate who works with the Cuzco-based adventure outfitter Amazonas Explorer, I assembled a trip to do just that."

Plus: Impressive Inca Trail photo album

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Travel & Tourism | July 5, 2011 [ 9:34 ]

Machu Picchu centennial to bring $40 million windfall

Machu Picchu.
The centennial celebration for Machu Picchu is expected to attract $40 million of additional tourism revenue to the Cusco region this month, according to an analysis by Gestión.

According to estimates from the national chamber of tourism, 70,000 visitors are expected in Cusco this July, an increase of some 20,000 over normal years. The news gets even better for the region, however.

Not only are more visitors coming to Cusco, they are also spending an average of one additional night there, due to the celebrations which peak on July 7. With the average tourist spending $150 per day, the revenues quickly add up.

The benefits are expected to continue into August and September, with bookings up 15% year-on-year. The real crunch, however, is for July bookings, especially at the site and the surrounding communities of Aguas Calientes, Ollantaytambo and Urubamba.

“The hotels are already full. Right now, there aren’t even rooms for those of us attending the ceremony. There are very few beds available; I estimate that the occupancy rate in Aguas Calientes is 90%,” Carlos Canales, president of the chamber of tourism, told Gestión.

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Travel & Tourism | July 4, 2011 [ 9:56 ]

Protests cause long-term losses to Puno's tourism industry

Recent protests in Puno (Photo: Living in Peru archive)
The losses to Puno’s tourism industry caused by recent strikes and blockades will continue to mount, reports El Comercio. By 2012, it is estimated that the protests will have cost the travel industry 300,000 visitors and roughly $100 million, in large part due to lingering bad publicity.

Looking beyond 2012, analysts remain pessimistic. The longer that unrest plagues the region, the harder it will be for domestic hotels and tour operators to sign contracts with foreign travel agencies. Puno risks being cut out of the southern tourist circuit.

Investment in Puno’s tourism industry is already drying up. “I think it’s almost impossible for a foreign chain to bet on Puno, with all the radical discourse that there is out there and the negative view they take on external investment,” Juan Stoessel, managing director of Casa Andina, told El Comercio.

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