Macchu Picchu is to Peru what the Eiffel Tower is to Paris. Making it more available to tourists could reverse its sluggish recovery.
Peru is expected to raise the daily visitor cap for Machu Picchu, the country’s most popular tourist attraction, according to a government statement provided to Intrepid Travel and seen by Skift.
Starting January 1, the statement says Machu Picchu will raise its daily visitor capacity to 4,500, The statement says that on “very specific dates,” the government will raise the cap even higher, to 5,600. Peru’s tourism board could not be reached for comment.
Currently, Machu Picchu’s visitor cap is 4,060, said Maritza Chacacanta, Intrepid Travel’s Peru Operations Manager. The government had introduced the cap to preserve the ancient Incan citadel, she said.
Machu Picchu is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In the statement, the government said the ancient Incan citadel’s continued preservation and conservation is a “priority.”
The site closed at one point in January 2023 due to large political protests. A month earlier, protesters shut down operations, stranding tourists at the site.
The protests caused the tourism sector’s revenue to drop by around 30%, Juan Carlos Matthews, Peru’s minister of foreign trade and tourism, told Skift in September.
Peru Tourism Struggles to Recover
Here is some context for the decision:
- Painfully slow recovery. Peru expects to receive around only 2.2 million visitors this year, way down from 4.6 million in 2019, according to PromPeru, the country’s tourism board.
- Movies and TV helped with promotion. The country got a promotional boost from the Transformers 7: Rise of the Beasts movie that came out this year. The move spends a lot of time in Peru showing Machu Picchu and other areas, said Matthews. He said he wants the country to attract more films.
- Tour operators hope next year will be better. “They suffered from a negative news cycle,” said Jacada Travel Founder Alex Malcolm. “I could see Peru having a big bounce back.”
- Air connectivity with the U.S., a top traveler market for Peru, is down. “The main barrier is that we don’t have direct flights as we had in the past,” said Angelica Graciela Matsuda Matayoshi, CEO of PromPeru, told Skift in September. “We are trying to cope with that, talking to their airlines, just to reopen more directly.”
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Photo credit: Machu PIcchu Merc / Unsplash