February 19, 2010
Almost a month since torrential rains and subsequent mudslides destroyed vast extensions of land in the surroundings of Peru’s most famous tourist attraction, the fabulous Inca citadel of Machu Picchu and the area had to be closed for visitors, while its accesses were repaired, the Government of Peru has undertaken the frantic task of rehabilitating the affected means of communication and the towns, stations and areas involved in the disaster.
On a recent announcement, Peru’s Minister of Transportation and Communications, Enrique Cornejo, said that, “to reach Machu Picchu, tourists might temporarily have to employ a dual system: go by bus until Ollantaytambo and then continue a short portion on foot up to the Pisacucho zone, on kilometer 82, to board the train towards the Sanctuary”. He informed that the concessionaries of the railway are working with this priority in mind, since the overall reconstruction will take some more time. The date of April 1st has been confirmed as the official one for the reopening of the railway, from kilometer 82 to Machu Picchu, yet not the entire segment from Cusco to the Citadel.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Foreign Trade and Tourism, Martin Perez, confirmed that an integral plan to rehabilitate the railway and the entire damaged zone is fully underway, in order to reopen, in safety, Peru’s main tourism attraction. He had previously flown over the devastated area and visited the Citadel. His remark was that “the Incas knew not only how to build the drainage system, the hydraulic system is absolutely amazing. We went on Saturday and it was absolutely dry”.
The President of Peru published on the Peruvian Gazette Supreme Decree 088-2010 which orders the measures to priorize the repair of infrastructure for two routes between Cusco and Machu Picchu. The first route includes the highway between Cusco and the Hydroelectric Rail Station and then the railroad tracks from the Hydroelectric Station to the Machu Picchu Station. The second route includes the highway from Cusco to Pisacucho and a stretch of railway from there to the Machu Picchu Station.
The Ministry of Foreign Commerce and Tourism of Peru also pledged to promote alternative tourist attractions while the area is closed and the repair works are underway.
He was quoted as saying that “we have to invite the tourists to come to the city of Cusco, which is not affected at all”… He mentioned that, in addition to the magnificent colonial city of Cusco, there are some high quality attractions nearby like the fortress of Sacsayhuamán; the Coricancha Sun Temple and the town of Pisac, famous for its colorful Indian market, all of which are open for visitation.
Evidently, the Peruvian authorities are working hard in order to normalize the flow of visitors to the country’s most famous attraction and a vast zone of influence around it, so that the thousands of people who make a living from tourism can start receiving the flow of tourists which they had before. In 2008, more than 850.000 visitors arrived in the now affected area. Being tourism vital for the Andean country’s economy, the Government is making a major effort in order to restore normality to the iconographic region.
Meanwhile, an unprecedented growth of visitors to other Peruvian tourist attractions, such as the Collca Canyon was reported, as visitors, suddenly confronted with the impossibility of visiting Machu Picchu, started selecting alternative locations to complete their planned stay in Peru. We sincerely hope that the situation will normalize and will keep our clients permanently informed about progress in the reopening of Machu Picchu, a much expected information for travelers eager to visit the famous Inca Citadel and its awesome setting and surroundings….