After weathering one of the toughest storms through the pandemic, cases are dropping, vaccines are increasing, and Peru is welcoming tourists back.
Sydney 18 August, 2021
Chimu Adventures’ hotel and operations manager, Australian, Nick Macciocca has been on deck at Casa República in Lima reporting an increase in occupancy month on month with August now enjoying 50% occupancy during the week, swelling to 70% on weekends following a trend that is happening countrywide. All remaining hotel staff are now back on full hours and the hotel has had to increase its workforce to keep up with the increasing demand.
A far cry from the early days of the pandemic where the hotel was used to help tourists find their way home, then offering quarantine for returning Peruvians. Now occupants in the hotel are business and leisure travellers, 80% from the US/Canada, 10% Europe and 10% local during the week, with weekends swelling due to the rooftop bar, showing a mix of 50/50 locals and foreigners. Last-minute bookings are the current trend.
The Peruvian borders were most recently opened to international visitors, without the need to quarantine on arrival, in March 2021, since then COVID cases and deaths have been on a steady and significant decline, whilst vaccination rates are accelerating. Peru has secured 90 million doses of various vaccines to cover its 33 million population and hope to be complete by November 2021.
Cautiously, numerous restrictions are still in place to further protect locals and visitors. Masks are compulsory in public areas, supermarkets, shopping malls, shops, pharmacies, airports, and on domestic flights. Bars and restaurants are still restricted in capacity to 50%, and in bars, everyone must be seated with table service only. There is a curfew in place from midnight until 4 am. Pleasingly, beaches and gyms are all now open once again.
Peru is now receiving international travellers from all nations without the need for travellers to quarantine, apart from visitors from India, Brazil and South Africa, who require 14 days in a 3rd ‘safe’ country prior to entering. For all other nations, it is open, providing a negative PCR test is presented 72 hours prior to departure from the country of origin, or an antigen test is taken on arrival at the tourist’s expense and the results are negative.
The sheer volume of US tourists to Peru is testament to the improved health of Peru’s citizens and ongoing protocols to protect the safety of all visitors and communities. Despite the borders being open now for some months, cases, and deaths have continued to fall and are now at the lowest levels since the pandemic began.
The country is now focusing on reinvigorating a completely decimated tourist industry. All major tourist attractions are now open, albeit with restrictions on numbers. Local hotels and tour operators, including Casa República, are offering pricing at less than half of pre-pandemic rates in an attempt to stimulate visitor numbers. It seems to be working so far, with international visitor numbers constantly improving and the locals are welcoming tourists back with open arms.
All of the great dining options in Lima have also survived the pandemic, so its place as the gastronomic hub of Latin America has been well-preserved, and with total tourist numbers down, there has never been a better time to secure a much-coveted table at global culinary giants such as Maido and Central restaurants.
Though one of the more conservative countries in its re-opening approach, compared to some other countries in South America, Peru tourism is starting to blossom and essentially leading many in the world in terms of reopening borders and the economy. Whilst the risk of a third wave is prevalent everywhere in the world, vaccines, it seems, are now protecting most citizens from the worst of outcomes and 2022 poses to be a very busy year for tourism in Peru.
Looking toward the future, Chimu Adventures have been working hard on their post-pandemic product range with a focus on avoiding over-tourism and facilitating an even better engagement between travellers and the communities they visit.
“People really do make or break travel experiences and we’re trying to find a way to build better bonds so that both traveller and community’s benefit.” Said Chad Cary, Chimu Adventures, Co-founder.
“Whilst it is exciting that our international markets are already enjoying the fruits of a freer life and a return to travel, I really look forward to helping Australia get out of its hermit state mentality. It does pain me that we are so far behind. That said, the light is now at the end of the tunnel for Australia with our international travel roadmap in place and it’s great to hear such good news from Peru. I feel great pride that we play an important role in bringing communities across the globe together, I think 2022 is going to be that year for Australians.” Said Carey.
For more stories behind the scenes from people in travel read more on the Chimu Chat