New tourist experience planned for Machu Picchu

Tuesday April 28, 2015
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New tourist experience planned for Machu Picchu

A plan has been recently approved to give the tourist experience at Machu Picchu in Peru a revamp. The ambitious new plans have called for a “dramatic reconceptualization” of the tourist infrastructure of the site estimated to cost $14.6 million. The daily limit agreed by Peru and UNESCO for visiting Machu Picchu is 2,500 although in reality the number of visitors far exceeds this. Although official numbers haven’t been released the numbers are estimated to exceed 1 million a year. The new plans and their “dramatic reconceptualization” include focusing tourist attention on the mountains and surrounding area as well as the ruins themselves. The plan states:

“the Inca city is more than the iconic complex of granite buildings, fountains and temples we see in photos, exquisitely perched atop a mountain…[it is a] patrimonial network that unfolds across the mountain and is symbiotically integrated with it ”

Machu Picchu should be understood as something larger than just the ruins, by promoting this the planners also wish to disperse the numbers over a larger area. The entry point will be moved to the valley below and a number of set routs put in place. Visitors can visit one of the predetermined routs which would also have time limits in certain areas. New ramps would be put in place along with installation of toilets within the ruins. Park guards and security cameras would keep a watchful eye.

No new visitor numbers have been put forward, although one section of the plan talks about having groups of 100 visitors leaving approximately every 10 minutes from the visitor center, along any of the possible path options. However if you assume that groups of 100 visitors left the visitor center every 10 minutes from 6am to 4pm that would put the annual number at around 2 million a year. A huge increase from the number agreed by Peru and UNESCO.

UNESCO has urged Peru to take great care over its world wonder or risk having it put on the list of endangered cultural heritage sites. Many who know what the site used to be like are saddened by the new proposal. One of them, renowned archaeologist Gary Ziegler, has said:

“Increased numbers, restricted routes and limited times all represent a disaster for a contemplative, spiritual visitation that the Incas’ most sacred mountain ceremonial center once offered.”

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