Foreword editor THT June edition 2014

W hy we are in the present situation and what is the role of The Huaraz Telegraph?

The lack of understanding of what tourism is really about is just one of the many reasons that could explain why Huaraz is not one of the prime touristic destinations in Peru. Less than thirty years ago we were one of the famous top three destinations along with Cusco and Arequipa, but not anymore it would seem. This area has so much to offer like Chavin de Huantar, The Cordillera Blanca and Negra, and also Hatun Machay. Even the little Roman-style village of Pomallucay is a fantastic place to visit. However, for some reason we do not manage to get close to receiving the same tourist numbers like other cities in the south.

We could ask why, but any answer would be based on speculation. We simply don’t know because shockingly there isn’t any research data available on this topic, which is very ironic and at the same time very sad since Huaraz has three universities all offering courses in tourism. One has to wonder what students learn about during their five years’ training, and why these so-called professionals are not able to change the situation we´re in.

We also have to ask ourselves what we, the locals and foreigners living in Huaraz, have done that hasn’t worked. Or maybe the question should be what haven’t we done? How have Cusco, Arequipa and even Ica, Iquitos, Máncora and Tacna grown in terms of tourist numbers, infrastructure and quality and Huaraz hasn’t?

I am very well aware that we could focus on the positive things, but if we want to improve the situation we´re in we can no longer ignore the facts, and I believe we all have to be realistic, honest and proactive. The time has come to take action, and those actions need to be well thought out, organised and concern all people working within the tourism sector. We need to work as a team. We all have a responsibility to come together for the good of the city, not just for the good of ourselves.

So what is the role of The Huaraz Telegraph in all of this? Huaraz has many problems that need to be addressed, if everything was fine and dandy, there would be nothing to write about. Our purpose is to offer the reader (the tourists) an understanding of what is happening in our city, and by doing so we believe that most issues for instance: touts at the bus stations, dangerous areas like the Rataquenua Cross, dogs running after cyclists etc. can be avoided, or least be prepared for. Information is power and our articles can have a positive impact, but as with all publications across the world, not everyone is going to agree with what is printed.

So what of the current state of tourism in Huaraz?

The third National Congress of Professionals in Tourism demonstrated that tourism in Huaraz (or lack thereof) is at crisis point. Although some protagonists will probably not agree, investigations and other statistics printed by The Huaraz Telegraph show that tourist numbers are falling year after year. It is very telling when we look at the poor turnout for the congress by those who work in the industry. The head of tourism of the Municipality of Huaraz failed to attend, as did SERNANP (the National Park Huascaran), representatives of Casa de Guias, the Tourism Police, and professors and students of the Technological Institute Eleazar Guzman Barron.

Now if all these experts etc. did not see the importance in attending a congress that focused on their businesses what hope do we as a city have in improving our situation? We would also like to ask why the many local entrepreneurs, guides, agencies and hostel or hotel owners in Huaraz did not feel it necessary to attend.

There is some positive news though. The downhill championships in Willcahuain last month were very enjoyable to watch, and Huaraz now has its first outdoor climbing wall at the Technological Institute Eleazar Guzman Barron. And last but not least, Huaraz will soon have its own climbing guidebook, containing all boulder and climbing spots in and around Huaraz.

And it doesn’t stop there because at the end of this month Huaraz will be hosting a spectacular three-day Festival del Andinismo with local, national and international athletes. The event will be held on the 27th, 28th and 29th of June and will be organised by Save the Rajus. Last year´s event really boosted tourism in the area so this year´s event is something everyone can look forward to.

Rex Broekman

Founder and editor of The Huaraz Telegraph

 

Also interested in the other editorials of our editor?

Editorial May 2014

Editorial October/November 2013

Editorial September 2013

Editorial August 2013

Editorial July 2013

Editorial June 2013

Editorial May 2013

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