Crafts and Tourism
Craftsmanship and tourism go hand in hand, except that tourists have only begun to come to Ayacucho in the past few years. Because of that, artisans are used to sending their products to be commercialized elsewhere, as far as Bolivia and Ecuador, and most importantly, Cuzco. The Sacred Valley receives millions of tourists every year, and an incredible amount of money flows through its economy. Accordingly, hundreds of thousands of Ayacuchan pieces are not only sold in Cuzco, but sold as Cuzqueño art. With tourists misinformed and Ayacuchan artisans under the cover of anonymity, Ayacucho looses enormous aggregate value in the sale of its crafts and in the low volume of tourists knowledgeable about or interested in coming to Ayacucho.
Realistically, Ayacucho’s location poses problems: 10 hours from Lima and 24 hours from Cuzco by bus, only recently have domestic carriers reestablished flights from Ayacucho to Lima (and none yet to Cuzco), making trips to both tourists and artisans challenging. The difficulties of effective commercialization from this isolated place lead to more than a loss of profits; it leads to a brain drain, when more developed craft businesses choose to relocate to Cuzco or Lima in search of a better presence to the tourist or export market. Thus, improving the visibility, accessibility and identity value of Ayacuchan art and encouraging tourism to the region can help revive the city’s economy and maintain more of its artisans at home.