Peru Swaps Backpackers for Well-Heeled Tourists
Luxury tours aim for big bucks from the wealthy
By Michael Quinn,  Newser User
Posted Apr 2, 2008 12:13 PM CDT
Las Casitas del Colca, opening on April 15th in Peru's Colca Canyon, offers a luxury getaway and a room with private plunge pool.   (Las Casitas del Colca)
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(Newser) – Peru’s government hopes to carve a thick slice out of the world’s luxury travel market,  aided by sumptuous trains with fancy oxygen enrichment systems and high-altitude 5-star hotels, reports Reuters. "It's not that we don't like backpackers," says the country's tourism minister, but with big bucks to be had, Peru is shifting its image away from frugal tourists living off pots of white rice.

Travelers shell out thousands to visit Machu Picchu, recently named one of the new Seven Wonders of the World. That honor should help draw attention, but getting people to spend in a country where 45% of the population lives in poverty is as important as getting them in: "It is important to distinguish between quantity and quality. We want a balance," says a tourism director.