Foreword editor THT August edition 2016

Consumer rights for tourists in Peru and the value of life

My part-time job at local TV station Cable Andino often offers interesting opportunities to interview people who work in the tourism industry. Having Dutch as my first language makes interviewing them in Spanish an interesting task, but it is getting easier. For those wondering how a Dutch fella was able to get a job as a news anchor at a local TV station in Huaraz, the answer is simple. It wasn’t because I paid for it, or because of my blue eyes, or perhaps being the best journalist; I got the job because the general manager of Cable Andino liked The Huaraz Telegraph a lot and he was looking for an impartial person that worked in journalism. I was apparently the right person. Trust me, it´s a great part-time job, and even though I have made a million and a half mistakes and mispronunciations, it´s the prime reason that I walk through town sometimes with a big smile on my face wondering how many other foreigners around the world are presenting the local news in the overseas country that they live in.

A couple of weeks ago I invited the person in charge of INDECOPI (the National Institute for the Defense of Competition and Protection of Intellectual Property) to our programme to talk about consumer defence and the fact that many people complain about the interprovincial bus companies doubling the prices of their bus tickets around public holidays such as Independence Day (28th of July). Dr. Jorge Cabel Villarroel said that this is just a matter of supply and demand in a free market. He added, however, that if people purchased their bus tickets three months in advance there would be significant differences in prices. A study by INDECOPI revealed that tickets from Lima to Trujillo, Cusco and Chimbote would only be between 5% and 6% cheaper when bought in advance, Arequipa 16% and Piura 18% and to Ica 20%. You can probably already see where this is leading: tickets to Huaraz top the list as they would be 63% cheaper for economic services and 35% for exclusive services. It made me think; why always Huaraz?

The head of INDECOPI further recommended citizens to plan their trips and buy bus tickets as far in advance as possible and to use only the services of well established companies. Interestingly, INDECOPI serves not only Peruvians, but also international travellers. If you´re heading south after Huaraz, and you visit Aguas Calientes (the town near Machu Picchu), make sure that restaurants don’t add a ´tourist tax´ to the bill because this doesn’t exist! If this happens to you, take a picture of the bill first then ask for the libro de reclamaciones (complaints book), and with a copy of your complaint report the establishment in question to INDECOPI. Make sure you get a boleta de venta (official sales bill with the logo of the restaurant and their address, telephone etc. on it) and not a simple piece of crappy paper with your order on it. This is the only manner that tourism can become sustainable. Although personnel at INDECOPI in Huaraz don’t speak any English, you could visit the Tourist Police or the office of I-Perú and ask them to help you in case no one in your hostel or hotel speaks your language. In general, in the south of Peru people speak more English.

Another important thing I feel obligated to mention is the following. In my July foreword I said that I couldn’t recall the last time I was informed by the Tourist Police that a tourist got assaulted in Huaraz. Sadly, we were informed about five tourists and their guide who were mugged at gun point near the Willcahuaín Ruins. Two days after that we were informed about the most deadly accident of this year´s climbing season. Unfortunately, these deadly mountain incidents happen every year and we have to report on those happenings, although I personally prefer the subjects that do not in involve death or violence. Although I am not a mountaineer myself, these happenings make you analyse the value of your life.

Rex Broekman

(founder and editor in chief)

PD: Would you like to join our team or fancy sharing your story, or maybe you would like to help us expanding, there are many opportunities available. Please feel free to contact us for more information. Taking all the above into account, please do me a huge favour and visit the businesses that have put their trust in our hands by buying an ad. Try to read our newspaper at those places so the owner will know that their purchase is having an effect. My gratitude will be immense.

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