Regenerative Tourism

Project title: Sustainable Development through Regenerative Tourism: A Pilot Program on the Colca Valley High Route (Callalli, Tisco, Sibayo, and Tuti).

Principal investigators: Dr. Jonathon Day,, and Carmen Franco,

Problem statement and need

Tourism is an important industry for Peru, accounting for over 5.6% of GDP and almost 1 million jobs (WTTC 2022). It is the 3rd largest export earner for Peru. It is recognized as an important driver of economic, social, and environmental development (OECD 2018). Sustainable tourism is a pillar of Peru’s strategic planning for tourism development. Tourism has the potential to contribute to the sustainable development of the communities of the High Andes.

Unfortunately, the growth of tourism frequently results in a range of negative impacts on destinations with few benefits remaining in the community. Sustainable development through tourism works to maximize benefits for destination communities while minimizing the negative effects of tourism on these host communities. Additionally, ensuring that small and micro enterprises, the foundation of tourism in the region, are equipped to achieve the best outcomes requires capacity building and support. This research proposal meets the need of ensuring tourism development benefits host communities through building stakeholder capacity to conduct sustainable, regenerative tourism in the emerging High Route region of the Colca Canyon.

Proposed research program and outputs

The main objectives and outputs of the project are:

1) Assessment of the challenges of supporting sustainable development of the destination communities of the Colca Valley (Callalli, Tisco, Sibayo, and Tuti).

  • Assessment of current situation including a review of tourism-related assets, existing product and infrastructure, planning, and policies.
  • Community based assessment of tourism destination assets and key experiences, and training and capacity-building needs.
  • Survey/interview with supply chain and industry experts to determine product viability and issues associated with product implementation.
  • Survey/Interviews of visitors to Colca Valley to determine the appeal of proposed product offerings and assess the most effective marketing strategies.

2) development of sustainable and regenerative tourism projects in the community.

  • Identification of tourism product concepts through participatory action research.
  • Mentorship and training of tourism product concepts through product development and market introduction stage.
  • New destination-level plans and activities designed to ensure sustainable and regenerative outcomes in host communities.
  • Assessment framework and diagnostics tools for regenerative projects in destination communities.
  • Training Program covering topics such as principles of regenerative tourism, product/experience design, and effective collaboration skills.
  • Development of key information/fact sheets and short video tutorials for training purposes.
  • Development of a web-based knowledge hub incorporating training materials, a set of diagnostic tools, and guides designed to empower communities in implementing sustainable tourism programs.


Lori Hoagland

Lori Hoagland
Professor, Purdue University
Horticulture And Landscape Architecture
Nexus Institute Co-Director

Walter Daniel Leon-Salas

Walter Daniel Leon-Salas
Associate Professor, Purdue University
Purdue Polytechnic Institute
Nexus Institute Co-Director

Dennis Macedo

Dennis Macedo
Associate Professor, UNSA
Nexus Institute Co-Director

Purdue University