Alvaro Silva-Santisteban Ferraro, Director of PROMPERU (Trade, Tourism & Investment Office Peru) – United Arab Emirates, talks to Aficionado about economic growth in the South American country and investments from the Middle East.
What are Peru’s main economic drivers and how has that changed since the financial crisis?
Peru main economic activities include agriculture, fisheries, mining, the exploitation of petroleum and gas, and manufacturing, of which one of the most important is textiles. In mining, during 2011, Peru ranked second in world silver production, zinc and copper.
Peru is one of the very few countries worldwide that even with economic recession experienced 1% growth, jumping back to its normal numbers the year after with an 8% growth. With this said, the economic drivers remain the same.
With regards to tourism, what makes Peru a good holiday destination?
Peru is currently ranked as one of the world’s top ten travel destinations, based on research conducted by Ernst & Young.
Peru has rapidly embraced change, and modern Peru is an evocative blend of the past and the present, from fashion to popular art, music and literature. Tourists are able to encounter a mix of sights, sounds and cultural expression, which have been passed down through the generations and is keeping the ancient cultures alive.
Have you seen an increase in visitors from the Middle East?
According to the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism of Peru, a total of 2,846,000 tourists headed to Peru in 2012, representing year-on-year growth of 10%, a figure that is expected to rise by a further 9 – 10% in 2013. Of these visitors, 6,000 were from the Gulf and 1,000 from the UAE.
In your eyes, what is the one experience that is entirely unique to Peru?
Peru is a magical destination, one of the richest biodiversity hotspots on Earth and a colourful mosaic of different cultures.
While Peru inevitably evokes images of Machu Picchu and the Inca Empire, the country is also rich in archaeological sites, which are a legacy of even more ancient times. Peru is a land steeped in 1,000 years of history. It was the heart of the mighty Incan Empire, and many other ancient civilisations that took root in this territory and left telling traces of their glorious past: Caral, the royal tombs of Sipan (the most grandiose tomb in the Americas), the enigmatic Nasca lines and the amazing fortress of Kuelap.
How much does the Gulf currently invest in Peru?
From 2010 until now, the UAE has invested between US$1.3 and US$ 1.5 billion in Peru.
DP World leading Port Callao is the main investment from the UAE in Peru, followed by IPIC –International Petroleum Investment Company – with three exploration fields in the country and bidding for two more. Abraaj Capital and General Petroleum are also investing in Peru.
Where do you see Peru heading in the future in terms of both tourism and trade/investments?
Peru should still be the economic driver in Latin America with an average 6% growth and a 2% of inflation. It should also keep its lead on trade and materialize its openness for FDI in numbers above US$ 10 billion annually. This is due principally to the stimulus in private consumption and domestic demand, improved employment indicators and increased credit. At the same time the growth of private fixed investments and public investments.
Tourism is set to become the second economic driver and the construction of a new airport in Cusco will produce a substantial increase in tourist arrivals to the city: from 2 million to 6 million visitors. Also there is an expansion program scheduled for Lima international airport.