Copyright Benito Segura
The Great Inca Road project was instituted in 2004 on a 7,000 km stretch of the Royal Inca Highway in Ancash, known in the local Quechua language as Inka Naani. This road connects six formerly remote communities, who now provide hospitality to visiting tourists. This boost to tourism in the region has created new sources of income and development opportunities for the local people. In 2008, this initiative was replicated in a new section of the Royal Inca Highway in Piura, Peru. In 2009, through a partnership with World Conservation Union (IUCN) and the General Secretariat of the Andean Community of Nations (SGCAN), the program was extended to three new sites: Sangay National Park in Ecuador, and Nor Yauyos Protected Cultural Landscape and Huascaran National Park, both in Peru.
In partnership with IUCN and the Abertis Corporation, TMI staff member Miriam Torres wrote an introductory book on Ancestral Roads and Biodiversity Conservation program. This publication serves to introduce the concept of the Inca Road Project to local policy makers in mountain regions. In addition to the book, a traveling exhibit was developed to help spread awareness of the benefits of the project. The exhibit began at Huascaran National Park headquarters, and is scheduled to travel to other Inca Road sites, introducing the public to the project and its potential to conserve Andean heritage. In addition, TMI established a partnership with REPONS (Responsible Tourism) thanks to a grant from IUCN-Netherlands, supporting market access to community-based tourism along the Royal Inca Highway.