Huaraz? Globally seen, Peru is Machu Picchu and nothing else

When I look at tourism in our city of Huaraz, I think there is still much to explore. Huaraz however, is not the tourist destination it should be, and that is due to the work of the local authorities. Corruption and informality are the main causes why tourism in Huaraz doesn’t grow. And finally, the reputation of Huaraz does not even reach out of the country. The few times I was in Nepal for my Summit 8000 project, I had to explain to the Sherpas in Nepal that Peru is located in South America. After talking about Argentina and Brazil, the people in Nepal just realised more or less where Peru is located. When we talk about international climbers, they do know our country, however; Peru is Machu Picchu and nothing else. Unfortunately, Peru is not known for its mountains. One of the reasons is that there is not enough publicity in the outside world.

It´s better not even to mention the work of the regional government of Áncash. What should be done then? In the first place we must start working together. This means that local entrepreneurs must work together with the state. The state, however, has to guide local entrepreneurs and the initiative must come from the authorities, with the support of local businesses.

At national level there is another problem at this time with regard to the formation of professional mountain guides. The Mountain Guides Association (AGMP) has more or less 35 years of experience in forming high mountain guides. However, the Ministry of Education wants to enter into this field (market) in order to decide who can be mountain guides and who cannot. Pay attention, long ago, the first ever official guides of the Mountain Guides Association went to Switzerland to take their courses and accredit themselves as international guides. Since then, we started in Huaraz with a standard, but this is an international standard. If the Ministry of Education is really going to take care of the training of guides in our country, I foresee many accidents in the mountains. To become a mountain guide, one has to head to the mountains for (at least) three years and receive appropriate pedagogical instructions of an experience guide, and not from a bureaucrat who comes from the capital of our country.

Returning to the subject of tourism at local level; I believe that informality has grown so bad that finding a solution is almost impossible. What I am going to say now could be interpreted in a pedantic manner but it is not my intention to hurt someone and above all it is more a metaphor than something else. However, to eradicate informality and taking into account that the authorities for the last twenty years have shown simply not to be able, I think it takes an earthquake as we have suffered in 1970 to start all over again. To take into account, Peru has the Cordillera Blanca, the Cordillera Negra, the Cordillera Huayhuash and 15 more mountain ranges. Why are not we able to take fully advantage of the wonders of our area? There is an incredible potential, but until local authorities do not start working transparently with local entrepreneurs, we will stay where we are; in a world where informality governs.

Víctor Rimac Trejo

Official mountain guide and conqueror of three of the 14 highest mountains in the world (Manaslu, Dhaulagiri and Cho Oyu)

Castellano:

¿Huaraz? A nivel mundial, Perú es Machu Picchu y nada más

Cuando miro al turismo en nuestra cuidad de Huaraz, creo que hay todavía mucho por explorar. Huaraz sin embargo, no es el destino turístico que debería ser, y eso es debido al trabajo de las autoridades locales. La corrupción y la informalidad son las causas principales por que el turismo no puede crecer. Y finalmente, la reputación de Huaraz no llega ni siquiera fuera del país. En las veces que estuve en Nepal para mi proyecto Cumbre 8000 tuve que explicar a las sherpas que Perú se ubica en Sudamérica. Luego de hablar de Argentina y Brasil recién se dan cuenta dónde más o menos se ubica el Perú. Cuando hablamos de los escaladores internacionales, ellos si conocen a nuestro país, sin embargo; Perú es Machu Picchu y nada más. Lamentablemente, Perú no es conocido por sus montañas. Una de las razones es que no se hace suficiente publicidad en el mundo exterior.

Mejor ni mencionamos el trabajo de la región Áncash. ¿Qué se debe hacer entonces? En primer lugar se debe empezar a trabajar de manera mancomunada. Eso significa que los emprendedores locales deben trabajar junto con el estado. Pero estado tiene que guiar a los empresarios locales. La iniciativa debe venir de las autoridades, con el apoyo de los negocios locales.

A nivel nacional hay otro problema en este momento con respecto a la formación de guías profesionales de montaña. La Asociación de Guías de Montaña tiene más o menos 35 años de experiencia en formar guías de alta montaña. Sin embargo, el ministerio de educación quiere meterse en este campo (mercado) para poder decidir quiénes pueden ser guías de montaña y quiénes no. Ojo, hace mucho tiempo atrás, los primeros guías oficiales de la Asociación de Guías de Montaña fueron a Suiza para tomar sus cursos y acreditarse como guías internacionales. Desde este entonces, se empezó en Huaraz con un estándar, pero un estándar de nivel internacional. Si el ministerio de educación realmente se va a encargar de la formación de guías en nuestro país, preveo muchos accidentes en las montañas. Para ser guía de montaña uno tiene que salir a la montaña por tres años y tener las instrucciones pedagógicas adecuadas de un guía de experiencia, y no de un burócrata que viene de la capital de nuestro país.

Volviendo al tema del turismo a nivel local; creo que la informalidad ha crecido con tanta magnitud que encontrar una solución casi no es posible. Lo que voy a decir ahora se podría interpretar de manera pedante o sonante pero no es mi intención de molestar a alguien y sobre todo es más una metáfora que otra cosa. Sin embargo, para erradicar la informalidad y tomando en cuenta que las autoridades por los últimos veinte años han mostrado de no ser capaces, creo que se necesita un terremoto como lo hemos sufrido en el año 1970. Para tomar en cuenta, Perú cuenta con la Cordillera Blanca, Negra, Huayhuash y 15 cordilleras más. ¿Por qué no somos capaces de difundir las maravillas de nuestra zona? Hay un potencial increíble pero hasta que las autoridades locales no empiecen de trabajar de una forma transparente con los empresarios, quedaremos en lo que estamos. En un mundo donde gobierna la informalidad.

Víctor Rimac Trejo

Guía oficial de montaña y conquistador de tres de las 14 montañas más altas del mundo (Manaslu, Dhaulagiri y Cho Oyu)

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