The U.S. issued an emergency message for citizens at the same time it issued the ban, but the difference in severity of the two messages highlights the department’s protocol for leaving travel decisions ultimately in the hand of the individuals.
The U.S. State Department barred travel by officials to the 15th century ruins of Machu Picchu, Peru’s top tourist destination, citing a heightened risk of kidnapping.
A criminal organization may be planning to abduct U.S. tourists visiting the mountain Inca sanctuary and the surrounding Cuzco region, the U.S. embassy in Lima said in a statement posted on its website yesterday.
“Personal travel by U.S. Embassy personnel to the Cuzco region, including Machu Picchu, has been prohibited and official travel is severely restricted as a result of this threat,” the embassy said. “Possible targets and methods are not known and the threat is credible at least through the end of February 2013.”
About 1.1 million tourists visited the citadel and Incan ruins in the surrounding areas last year, including 762,000 foreigners, according to the Tourism Observatory of Peru. Located 1,165 kilometers (725 miles) southeast of Lima, Machu Picchu is the mainstay of the country’s tourist industry, which generated $3.3 billion in revenue last year.
The embassy said it is confident of the Peruvian government’s efforts to protect tourists.
Editors: Bill Faries and Philip Sanders.
To contact the reporter on this story: John Quigley in Lima at email@example.com.To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andre Soliani at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Subscribe to Skift Pro
Subscribe to Skift Pro to get unlimited access to stories like these ($30/month)Subscribe Now
Photo Credit: Early morning in Machu Picchu before the hoards of tourists arrive. Sandi / Flickr
Peru’s Challenge to Build Tourism Outside the Shadows of Machu Picchu
Peru has done a lot in terms of diversifying its tourism industry, but a stronger emphasis on a unified vision for tourism is still needed. If governments don’t start prioritizing tourism — which has far-reaching impacts on other industries, the environment, and the lives of locals — we’re going to lose critical parts of history that help explain who we are and how we got here.
Rebecca Stone, Skift | 3 years ago
Peru Protects Rainbow Mountain Tourism From Mining Sector
Peru is smart to protect its thriving tourist attractions from foreign mining interests. The short-term payoff from mining concessions is nothing compared to the importance of preserving sustainable tourism growth.
Laura Millan Lombrana, Bloomberg | 3 years ago
Peru Wants Machu Picchu’s Sacred Sister to Attract More Tourists
It's one thing when New York tries to funnel tourists into lesser-known parts of the city. It will be another to pull that off in the remote, delicate ecosystem that contains Machu Picchu and its Sacred Sister.
John Quigley, Bloomberg | 4 years ago