PETALING JAYA - Brazil may be in the spotlight as the FIFA World Cup host, but it is neighbour Peru which is poised to become a tourism haven for Malaysians.
A group of premier local travel agents has returned from an eight-day familiarisation trip to the Land of the Incas and are now working on introducing a tour package itinerary.
The South American nation is home to 11 Unesco World Heritage Sites which include Machu Picchu, one of the New 7 Wonders of the World which is considered to be the most extraordinary example of landscape architecture in the world.
The Malaysian tour agents, who flew onboard AirFrance-KLM, also visited the capital city of Lima and covered Cosco and Sacred Valley.
Mayflower Group chief executive officer Datin Josephine Low described Machu Picchu as a "must go".
"It is simply breathtaking. We spent three hours exploring the site but you can spend an entire day there," she said.
Low said Peruvians were committed to promoting their heritage and architecture rather "than trying to make a fast buck off tourists".
"It's not highly commercialised like many other tourist destinations,'' she added.
BMC Travel Sdn Bhd managing director Billy Leong, who was part of the group, described Lima as a cosmopolitan city that "is a must for food lovers".
"Peruvian cuisine has a Spanish feel but has its own distinct texture. Sacred Valley also has very much to offer and its colourful flea market and alpaca farms are very interesting," he said.
Peruvian Ambassador to Malaysia Marco V. Balarezo, who met the travel agents here on Friday, welcomed the initiative to explore the wonders of his country.
"There are many interesting places to visit and an amazing variety of things to do,'' Balarezo said.
AirFrance-KLM Malaysia manager Estee Ng, who was also in the group, said the airline was organising another eight-day tour to Peru from Sept 15.
"It will cover Machu Picchu, Lima, Cosco, Sacred Valley and Lake Titicaca, which is the highest lake in the world,'' she said, adding that the package was priced at RM15,000 each with only 30 seats available.
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