Monday, August 22, 2011

The Condor Revenge

Local tour guides from Colca Canyon protest against abusive tour guides commissions

by the Colca Specialist

The tour guides association ASGUIP TUCAY is protesting against the abusive commissions of the tour guides from Arequipa. The commissions are each time higher and this situation is affecting not only the local businesses but also the local vendors who sell handicrafts among other products.

The secretary of ASGUIP TUCAY ,Guillermo Rendón Cuadros which is until the moment the most awarded tour guide in all Arequipa asked the people of Colca Canyon to denounce the abuses committed by the tour guides from Arequipa and to rebel against the indifferent corrupted authorities and representatives of tourism of Arequipa.

“We cannot be indifferent with the problems of our people” –says Guillermo Rendón Cuadros.

The rebellion of the local tour guides against the abuses started five years ago and Rendón became the voice of the locals.Member of different nationalist and indigenous movements, Rendón continues denouncing the abuses. Slandered and attacked, the leader of ASGUIP TUCAY rejects to surrender.

If the restaurants don´t pay the commissions the tour guides simply won´t go to that place to eat. They will invent several stories to persuade their clients in order to convince them to eat in the places where they obtain commissions.

The same thing happens with the handicrafts stores in Chivay. If you go to a store with the guide ,the owner of the store will have to increase the prices because of the commissions given to the tour guides.The most affected are the tourists who are the ones who pay these commissions.

In the trekking circuits in Cabanaconde and Tapay district the same problem is happening. Trekking guides persuade their clients to rent mules. If the clients refuse to rent mules, they will persuade the group to rent at least a mule for carrying all the backpacks. Why?

The travel agencies that are provoking this terrible situation are the cheap travel agencies whose prices are very low. Their trekking guides don´t speak English fluently and they are not professional. Because they are not professional, these poorly paid trekking guides have to do their best in order to obtain commissions from restaurants, handicrafts stores, etc.

These trekking tour guides are also cooks. They cook the food for their clients which is taken from Arequipa. So, what kind of tourism is this that leaves NO BENEFITS for the locals?

The tour operators are from Arequipa, the tour guides come from Arequipa. The guides bring the food from Arequipa. The guides cook the food and they wait their groups. So what kind of tourism is this that leaves NO BENEFITS for the locals?

The only travel agency that works with local tour guides and leaves benefits to the locals is NATURALEZA ACTIVA. This company hires local guides, buy the food from the locals and they cook for the clients. That is sustainable tourism.

NATURALEZA ACTIVA is the only travel agency that works with the local tour guides association from Colca Canyon called ASGUIP TUCAY. The tours offered are cultural and adventure based. If you are looking for a tour based on culture you should travel with Naturaleza Activa and ask for traveling with a specialist in inca cosmovision and southamerican aboriginal cults. You will realize of the difference.

There are travel agencies and tour guides that are recommended by Trip Advisor ,Lonely Planet, Facebook and others but ¿Is there a travel agency awarded and recommended by the majors or local authorities of the area visited? To be recommended by Trip Advisor doesn´t mean that that travel agency practices a responsible tourism.

Travel with travel agencies that include you everything if possible. If they include everything your smart tour guide won´t have an opportunity to get commissions.
If you are having a buffet in restaurants like Urinsaya, Qhapaq Ñan, Los Portales, or in any other which offers buffet just pay 15 soles. The waiter will tell you that the price is 20. Tell him that you will pay without the 5 soles commission for the tour guide.That is all.

The restaurants above mentioned are the best. The trekking tour guides take their clients to restaurants located out of Chivay. Be careful. If you don´t want to eat there tell the guide to be left in the square of Chivay. They take you to restaurants far from the square in order to avoid the clients to find a place to eat. With nothing in the surroundings, the client is forced to get inside the restaurant to eat which is not fair.

If you are take the classical two day trip to the Colca Canyon with Colonial tours or other travel agency pay just 15 soles for the buffet. If the guide insists in that the price is 20 just leave the place. Don´t be used. Talk to the owner of the travel agency. If you want to avoid this problem ask the travel agency to include your meals in the program. The travel agency will charge you the real price without commission.

If your tour guide is good. Give him a tip and tell him why you are tipping him. That will motivate him or her to be better.
And don´t forget that we receive for what we have paid for…

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