Peru faces tourism setback

Peru is currently facing a sharp tourism decline after torrential rains forced the evacuation of thousands of tourists from Macha Picchu, an ancient Inca city located high in the Andes. The 15th century city is the most visited site in Latin American and is the source of 90% of Peru’s overall tourist revenue. However after the recent flooding, the ruins have been virtually cut off from the outside world after the railway used to enter the city was destroyed.
The railway is the most convenient way to enter Macha Picchu; the other option is a four day hike along the Inca trail. After the track was damaged in hundreds of places authorities are speculating that it may take up to two months to complete repairs.
The Peru Tourism Board has warned that the country could lose a significant amount of money if tourism continues to decline. This is especially significant for the city of Cusco where around 175,000 people depend on the money brought in from tourism. The government has launched an emergency campaign to combat the destruction brought on by the severe weather. Marco Ochoa, president of the Cusco Association of Tourism Agencies has stated that ‘we are studying emergency measures to keep it open for international tourism, however the only immediate option for gaining access to the site is by helicopter from Cusco’.
Peru’s government has offered assistance to any Peruvians affected by the storms, prioritising the repairs to the Machu Picchu railway system. This disaster has dealt a dramatic blow to Peru’s tourism projections, a 10% rise was expected in 2010 however several operators are already receiving hundreds of cancellations.

Author: Henry DiCharles
Date: 04/02/2010

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