Peru To Promote ‘Pisco Route’ In Ica
Peru’s government is planning to promote a “Pisco Route” in the south coast region of Ica, which it hopes will boost tourism by 18 percent per year, state news agency Andina reported.
A grape brandy produced in Ica since the late 16th century and shipped to Spain from the port of Pisco during the colonial era, pisco has been branded as Peru’s national liquor, although the name is also claimed by Chilean producers and the name of origin is the topic of heated debates.
Although pisco was always produced on the south coast —including in the Moquegua and Tacna regions— production of fine quality brandy was limited, and certainly in Lima the preferred drink during most of the 20th century was rum or whisky. However, improved quality, larger production and strong marketing, now governed by a pisco producers’ association, have turned the industry around.
The pisco industry began to promote a pisco tourism route over this past decade, and the promotion is now being taken on by the national tourism offices as part of a broader plan to boost the local economy.
Peru’s Deputy Minister of Tourism, Claudia Cornejo, says a tourism route in Ica to allow visitors to visit Pisco producers could attract 1.2 million tourists per year.
Cornejo estimates that 84 percent of those tourists would be Peruvians, while 16 percent would be from abroad.
The Pisco Route would be an additional boost to tourism in Ica, which was hard hit by an earthquake in 2007 that killed approximately 500 people. The port city of Pisco was devastated in the magnitude-8 quake, and government efforts to clean up the city have been bogged down by bureaucracy and allegations of corruption.
The main tourist attraction in Ica are the Nazca Lines, the large pre-hispanic drawings in the desert that depict a series of animals, including monkeys, llamas, hummingbirds and spiders. Etched across the desert floor between 500 B.C. and A.D. 500, the lines are among the world’s greatest archaeological enigmas and are listed as a UNESCO heritage site. Other top tourist spots in the region are the Paracas peninsula and the Huacachina oasis.