Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia preserve the Inca Qhapaq Ñam trail by promoting local tourism

May 21, 2021

The governments of Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador are taking steps to restore and preserve the Qhapaq Ñam Andean Inca route and promote local tourism in the region.

Qhapaq Ñam in the Peruvian Andes.

Qhapaq Ñam was the backbone of the Inca Empire’s political and economic power. It served as an extensive Inca communication, trade and defense network of roads and associated structures, covering an area of more than 30,000 square kilometres.

During the last days of the empire, it connected Cusco with Cuenca, which was being built to be the northern Inca capital.

Since 2014, Qhapaq Ñam has been considered a UNESCO World Heritage site. Its development and preservation is not only important for historic reasons, but for the Andean countries’ tourism industry and culture. Peruvian Minister of Culture and Tourism, Wilma Alanoca, confirmed the proposal of a project in the area that is expected to benefit 15 local communities along the route.

Qhapaq Ñam connected Cusco and Cuenca.

Over one million dollars will be spent on Qhapaq Ñan’s identification, registration, conservation and maintenance. About 80 percent of the investment will be financed by an Italian corporation, whereas, the United Nations Development program (UNDP) will contribute with 7 percent of the total budget. The governments of Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador have agreed to cover the rest of the costs.

Although the Covid-19 has slowed progress on the project, the sponsors say it should be completed in 2022.

The proposal was presented by Alanoca in alliance with Antonela Scarmesia, one of the coordinators at the Italian corporation, and Mauricio Ramírez, UNDP representative.

“Tourism is not only part of our material and immaterial heritage, but it is also a source of employment, a source of economic income that will improve the lives of our brothers in the provinces,” Alanoca told Publimetro.

The three countries seek to strengthen this route from a community tourism perspective and to inform the people from villages the importance to preserve a world heritage area such as Qhapaq Ñan.

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