As many of you know, our tours have been on hold since 2020 due to COVID-related concerns. Although COVID is still with us, vaccines, treatments, and fewer restrictions on international travel are giving us hope that we can begin to resume our tours in the coming months.
It’s exciting to think about traveling again and at the same time challenging to plan for all the possible contingencies. We have always strived to plan and conduct safe tours for our participants. We’ve provided tips and guidelines for staying healthy while traveling, including specific information on altitude-related issues, food safety, sanitizing to avoid germs carried by money and other items, and staying hydrated. Both ATA and our travel partner in Peru, Raul Jaimes, have provided support and information to avoid accidents and disease.
To address the current situation, we are developing additional guidelines that will help insure safe experiences for our travelers and, importantly, for the weavers and the villages we visit. Some of these guidelines will likely include safe distancing at meals and on the bus, rooming decisions, frequent testing, masking, maximum number of tour participants, and requirements for vaccinations and travel insurance. We are also developing procedures to follow if someone on the tour gets sick and needs to seek medical attention or isolate due to COVID.
This fall, a few of our Andean Textile Arts board members and advisors will be making a scouting trip to Peru. Part of our mission is to put these new procedures in place so that we can feel confidant about offering our tours again. Along with Raul and Nilda Callañaupa, director of the Center for Traditional Textiles of Cusco (CTTC), we’ll be visiting a number of villages, offering encouragement to the weavers, and seeing the newly renovated CTTC centers in both Cusco and Chincero. Thanks to your generous donations, we have been able to financially support many projects over the past few years and it will be rewarding to have the weavers show us what they’ve been able to accomplish!
It is our hope that we can resume tours as early as spring of 2023. With careful planning and thoughtful health protocols, we will be announcing the next tours as soon as we possibly can!
Pamela Art, former president and publisher of Storey Publishing, joined the ATA board in 2014. She now organizes and directs tours on behalf of ATA.