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Losses to 60% register local tourism agencies operating in the Isla del Sol due to blockade of the northern part of the site, according Abatur. The influx of foreign tourists is increasing conflict between community members of Challa lower and Challapampa, that is latent for already five months.
The trigger for the conflicts was the site by Challa five civilian buildings just 300 meters away from the Chinkana, one of the most important ceremonial buildings on the island. These works had permission from the National Archeology Unit and financing of the Mayor of Copacabana.
Disturbed by the proximity and the potential risk of the buildings to the archaeological site, Challapampa villagers demolished two brick structures. In response Challa began a lake and land blockade the northern sector of the island.
The balance five months of conflict so far is twenty injured in fights comunarios, three hijacked boats and 20 retained tourists, who they were rescued by the Navy.
Minister of Culture, Wilma Alanoca, He urged last week to local authorities, municipal and departmental solve the problem. “We would not regret the closure of the tourist destination ", he warned.
Tourists and income losses
in Copacabana, dozens of travel agencies offer trips to the Isla del Sol. Traders say that income is normal and only those who ask for blocking inform them that the only entrance is by the population of Yumani, in the south. “Go north is prohibited by the conflict ", They said without giving details.
But not all visitors are warned of the situation. This, it is high time for European tourism, Isla del Sol to reach visitors who do not understand the reason for the blockage between the northern and southern. With a red flag, community members stop them and ask them back the way.
Tired and angry, tourists warnings are removed with formal complaints.
Secretary of Culture and Tourism of the Government of La Paz, Rogelio Sarzuri, explains that there are no statistics on how many domestic and foreign tourists arrive north of the island, where is the Chinkana- because the people exercise control. “For this reason it can not give a figure of the ravages blocking ".
Sin embargo, tour operators estimate that have lost between 40% y 60% visitors to the Isla del Sol, both domestic and foreign.
“No harm to tourism. Many asked to go to the northern part of the island because you can do trekking and there are archaeological sites, as Chinkana. Of a 100% Users with which we operated, el 40% You want to visit this part. Since the conflicts we lost that percentage of tourists and, Clear, also revenues ", Servimaster partner ensures Tours, Mariela Álvarez.
The situation is the same in other tourist agencies installed in downtown La Paz street Sagárnaga. With some regret, operators agree that can only offer packages to the south of the island.
President of the Bolivian Association of Receptive Tourism Agencies (abatur), Víctor Quispe, notes that for their 63 affiliates operating losses blocking the Isla del Sol reach a 60% in relation to the normal flow of local tourists.
“And I would give the same figure, if not a greater, in the case of foreigners. Cancellations are scheduled daily because those who travel to Bolivia, to receive information from these conflicts change their destiny ", Quispe regrets.
He explains that this is because the information is quick. “There are embassies have warned his countrymen that there is a risk of visiting the northern part of the island. But voice changing and voice the statement and said that there is danger in the Bolivian lake part and tourists just do not even enter the country ".
The damage is to the entire tourism chain and not just a destination. With blocking travelers are captured least one of the important strategic points which is Casani , Peru border.
“All this has an impact at international level and damages the country's image. When problems are solved Isla del Sol will not be so easy to resume tour operations ", says the president of Abatur.
“It is very sad that this kind of infighting affecting tourism that has worked so hard to promote. The situation worsens when they comunarios living from this activity and harm including laments the operator Alvarez- For the good of all, there solutions ".