October 28, 2009
The Vice-Minister of Tourism of Peru announced recently that his Ministry is evaluating the possibility of organizing night circuits for tourists to visit Machu Picchu, Peru’s sacred Inca citadel and most important tourist attraction.
Plans include a new presentation for the citadel with monumental illumination to enhance night visits, starting next December. While presently tourists can visit the citadel between 09:00 and 16:00; the visiting hours will be extended to the night, a specific hour not determined yet. In addition to a new perspective to enjoy Peru’s top tourist highlight, the measure is also meant to reduce the saturation of visitors which currently occurs during the day time hours of visitation. The Peruvian authorities want to provide a new way to experience the awesome marvel of the world and most famous Inca citadel.
The site’s inclusion in the new list of world wonders, triggered an unprecedented increase in the number of visitors, which have reached a record-breaking more than 850.000 visitors in 2008
Last year, UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee requested reinforced monitoring for Machu Picchu, the emblematic and sacred Inca citadel of Peru, expressing their serious concern regarding the management of the site, the excess of tourists at certain hours and the imminent risk of landslides, deforestation and wildfires.
According to the UNESCO, one-third of the forests and underbrush in the protected area surrounding Machu Picchu have been affected by fire, often set by local farmers attempting to clear their lands of undergrowth. In 1997, a fire destroyed vegetation closely surrounding the ruins and reached the lowest terraces of the site.
The extraordinarily famous and historic ruins face many threats related to unregulated and expanding tourism, the uncontrolled growth of hotels and restaurants in the surroundings, which is putting great pressure on the site’s erosion-prone banks.
In the light of such threats, the measure of extending the visiting hours into the night, while establishing and enforcing new regulations and controls for a better management of the activities in the entire area, will contribute to protect this World Wonder and Heritage Site. Tour operators will start developing attractive tours and exploration options at night, which will enrich the menu of touring options to one of South America’s top travel attractions. And we will be delighted to arrange for you new and innovative ways to enjoy this fabulous and unique location not only under the Andean skies and sun, but also under the stars and spectacular light arrangements.