(Berlin, Cusco) Two years after the opening of the first trans-Anden lodge-to-lodge trek to Machu Picchu, Mountain Lodges of Peru (MLP) has won the grand prize of the renown competition TO DO! – Contest Socially Responsible Tourism. Following a comprehensive jury inspection on site, the prize was awarded during this year’s travel trade show ITB in Berlin on Friday, March 13th. “This is the result of our business strategy which from the beginning included the involvement of local communities and the use of environmentally sound practices”, Enrique Umbert Jr, General Manager of MLP is glad to point out.
The rationale for the award says: “MLP offers unusual trekking tours that satisfy the highest expectations regarding comfort and quality.”….”The company combines an economically promising strategy with comprehensive social and ecological responsibility in a plausible manner and helps to strengthen cultural identity.”
In Peru the MLP tourism concept is innovative and unique, as it is not focused exclusively on operating trips. To address environmental issues, they have set up a professional eco-team that surveys the trek, provides trail maintenance and clean-up, and assists with reforestation and wildlife conservation. Clean energy for the lodges will be obtained by micro-hydro projects that will also benefit the communities.
The social responsibility component of MLP is handled by a non-profit organization called “Yanapana” (“Help” in Quechua language; www.yanapana.org) which serves the people who live in the region. Members of the local communities have been trained to work in the lodges; they are given micro loans and technical assistance to improve the quality and sale of regional products such as preserves, weavings and vegetables. Medical care and education support for more than 1,700 children in the region is provided as well.
“During the building of the four first-class lodges in the Andes we strictly followed a concept that served the people and preserves the environment”, explains Enrique Umbert Sr, CEO of MLP. The lodges were designed by a local architect who incorporated the traditional Inca style of stone and adobe houses with straw roofs with more modern concepts of comfort and energy efficiency in such a way that the buildings completely blend into the Andean landscape; moreover, all the lodges fit well and deep into Inca mythology, architecturally and conceptually. The lodges feature rustic-elegant double bedrooms with private facilities, hot showers, heaters and Jacuzzis. Unique “Andean energetic cuisine” provides excellent and innovative meals in both lodges and along the trail, using local produce and organic food.
The travellers experience all this during the fully guided round trip from Cusco on the Salkantay lodge-to-lodge trek to Machu Picchu and back to the famous Inca capital. Over two thousand international hikers so far enjoyed this unique combination of first class accommodation and contact with people and nature. More information about the prize winning company MLP and the unique possibility to explore nature and culture in the Peruvian Andes is provided at the ITB, Berlin, March 10-15th, HALL 1.1, BOOTH 106 attended by representatives of MLP, Peru.