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APEC summit draws more Chinese tourists

Reporter: Dan Collyns 丨 CCTV.com

11-17-2016 12:27 BJT

Full coverage: Xi Visits Ecuador, Peru and Chile, Attends APEC Summit

You've heard of bar-hopping, but what about country hopping? As Peru hosts the APEC summit, more Chinese tourists are visiting the country and using it as a base to travel to other countries in Latin America. Peru's president Pedro Pablo Kuczynski wants to make tourism a pillar of the country's economy and has waived visas for Chinese tourists and business travellers in a move to incentivize more tourism and trade.

It sometimes feels like every day is a fiesta in Cuzco. And Chinese tourists are joining the party.

"My last name is Chen and this time, I come to Peru just for the business but just for the weekend so we go to the Cuzco because Cuzco is a very, a very famous city in China also we went to Machu Picchu, so I think it's very, very nice," A Chinese tourist said.

And it's now easier to visit Peru.

"It's very convenient because I hear that now there is no need for visas from September, so it's very good news for us and I think many Chinese tourists will come here,"  A Chinese tourist said.

That's the idea. On the eve of an official visit to China, Peru's president Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, announced a visa waiver for Chinese tourists and businessmen. 

While Latin American and U.S. tourists still make up a large share of visitors to Peru, Asian tourism is growing.

"Peru is a logical place to visit for Chinese tourists who are interested in Latin America due to the quantity of tourist resources and formats it has, starting with the fact that both Peru and China are cradles of civilization, an aspect which is valued by the Chinese community and clearly a point of pride for Peru,"  APEC Coordinator for Trade & Tourism Minsitry Julio Chan said.

Peru's tourism ministry registered more than 26 percent of Chinese tourists in the first eight months of this year compared to around 20,000 visitors in 2015. 

Chinese tourism is on the rise in Peru and here in Cuzco, a city which lives from tourism, operators are even starting to learn Mandarin in an effort to encourage more visitors from this huge potential market.

Tour operators like Federico Moreyra who owns Andean Amazon.

"Thank you very much! I welcome all Chinese to come and visit this charming country: Peru. Peru has one of the world's oldest, richest and most mysterious cultures. We welcome you all!" Moreyra said.

Moreyra has lived and worked in China and his ability to speak Mandarin is proving to be an asset in the tourism business.

"I have studied Chinese for many years and I would like to use these skills so that the Chinese customers can communicate with me so that I can share my culture and my knowledge with them. I would be very happy to do that," Moreyra said.

Moyrera says Chinese visitors love Cuzco's history and compare Peru's ancient culture with their own. He adds they also have money to spend and tend to stay in the top hotels and prefer authentic Chinese food.

"This place opened two years ago. Many Chinese came when we just opened. They tried our food and liked it. Customer numbers have since increased to around 50 to 80 a week.  They appreciate the ancient building, roads, Inca culture, and food. They like the delicious and authentic food. Most of the Chinese customers like authentic food. It reminds them of home. We can cook pretty much all dishes, all flavors. So they like it. They enjoy coming here to eat and to chat," Restaurant owner Wei Shenrong said.

Chinese restaurants like Chifa Pekin in the one- time capital of the Inca empire are catering to a growing trend. The next big step could be direct commercial flights between China and Peru.

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