Selling culture: re-inventing the past to create a future
The tourism industry in Peru has grown faster than any other sector in the country’s economy. Peru has used Incanismo, the exaggeration of the Inca culture and identity, to appropriate culture and tourism in and around Cusco. This method has led to significant economic advancements throughout the city. Because of this, traditional Quechua-Speaking communities outside of Cusco have begun to promote a similar method in order to experience the same success. In doing so, many meanings of community values and traditions are changing. Though I began my research with a negative perspective and found the tourism industry to be exploitative, the time I spent living and volunteering in the local community of Ccorccor helped me to recognize the potential positive opportunities that tourism could offer. With a Hopeful Tourism model, I offer suggestions for the incorporation of a broader, more inclusive Andean identity, rather than the previous Inca-specific one. Hopeful Tourism is way for communities to re-cultivate their own unique characteristics and heritages, while supporting economic development. Not only will this maintain tourism throughout Peru, but it will do so in a culturally sustainable way.