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From Horses to Tour Buses: The Effects of Tourism on Ollantaytambo, Peru

Presenter: Melissa Barrett

Advisor: Prof. Jeffrey Cohen

While many researchers are interested in the effects of tourism on local culture, few have taken into account the perspectives of non-local residents who are part of the tourism industry. My preliminary study focuses on the way non-locals understand, participate in, and explain the effects of tourism in the Peruvian town of Ollantaytambo, in the Sacred Valley of the Inca in the Andes Mountains. My methods include ethnographic fi eldwork, specifically observation and open-ended interviews with non-local residents who speak English and Spanish. This research has shown that non-local Ollantaytambo inhabitants believe that tourism has changed the economy, increased cultural pride, and contributed to the problems of vehicular traffic and trash accumulation in Ollantaytambo. In addition, non-local Ollantaytambo residents consider tourism to have heightened social differences in the region, specifically between tourists and locals, between expats who own hotels and locals who do manual labor, and between Ollantaytambo residents and inhabitants of nearby communities.