Carlos Loayza Camarena

Machupicchu in the eyes of the world

Carlos Loayza Camarena

Machupicchu in the eyes of the world

On the occasion of the announcement made a few weeks ago about the modernization of the ticket sales system to the different archaeological sites administered by the Ministry of Culture of Peru and that at some point this new platform would be the only one to be used to manage access to our main archaeological center of the country as Machu Picchu, different voices have been heard and have brought up the important and necessary attention to what is also the main tourist attraction of Peru.

The origins

As is well known, the sustainability of a tourist attraction and more so when it is a World Heritage Site, merits above all things to keep in mind its conservation and preservation, so by 2015, the consultant under the direction of Douglas Comer made the study of carrying capacity of Machu Picchu and the government defined in 2020 a maximum capacity of 2,244 per day.  

As expected, from having a flow of more than 7,000 visitors per day to less than 30%, the economic impact on the main arrival center to make the tour of the llacta itself was reduced more than significantly, which is why, after a series of protests and measures of force of the population, the state, already under the presidency of Pedro Castillo, agreed through its then Minister of Culture, Betsy Chavez, to give in to the pressure of the population and grant them the sale of 1,000 tickets in person and exclusively in Machu Picchu town, over the 4,044 that were also authorized to be the new capacity allowed per day.

To the pure analysis of the measure, in effect it could be said that it would generate that the visitors spend one or two nights in MachuPicchu Pueblo until they get their desired access to the Inca Citadel generating in effect more economic activity, but deepening in the same analysis, it was not defined at the time how sustainable it was (or still is) the same.   

Time has made it clear that the measure actually had no sustainability whatsoever, but rather has allowed to generate a lack of control in the sale of tickets in Machu Picchu Pueblo and thus generate not only the long lines recorded in various media and communication networks but even some mismanagement in the same access to Machu Picchu.  Not to mention the uncertainty in many tourists, especially from abroad, not having the certainty of being able to visit or not the Inca citadel because they would necessarily have to go to the town to find out, making in many cases change their trips to other destinations in Peru or simply cancel them.

The tip of the Iceberg

Given this situation, the occasion has also allowed that for the first time all the actors of the Tourism sector, Culture, Legislative Power, Regional Government, Local Government, Organized Civil Society, Guilds of the involved sectors and others, put the sight again in what should have been done from the beginning when the low tourist affluence to Machu Picchu Pueblo was seen: To turn it into a true tourist destination with an offer that invites, not forces, the tourist to spend the night just a step away from our main Wonder of the World. 

So, in a meeting held two weekends ago at the Ministry of Culture, the mayor of Machu Picchu Pueblo, Elvis La Torre, when speaking, mentioned that in effect the issue of selling 100% of the tickets virtually was only "the tip of the iceberg" since the problems of the main tourist destination in Peru and why not say the subcontinent transcended it and rather had to pay more attention to issues that ensure the destination as the channeling of the rivers surrounding the town or the materialization of necessary works that only see passing governments in office as well as many of its inhabitants also see passing tourists, leaving them nothing for their development.

In turn, the president of the National Chamber of Tourism of Peru, Jose Koechlin von Stein, mentioned having the joy of working since the 70s in and with Machu Picchu Pueblo and being involved in all its development since then, something he knows well, and that he also knew was not an expected or desired situation today, in his words "we are bad" and to be better indeed would be to turn Machu Picchu Pueblo into a true world class TOURIST DESTINATION with the attributes that the same town already has such as the largest amount of orchids registered in a single populated center in the world, an immense quantity also of birds, many of them very exotic and difficult to appreciate in any part of the world, to see again the great existing potential in the thermal waters of the town that made it be known in the beginning even as "Aguas Calientes", which could turn it into a Thermal Village; among other efforts that undoubtedly are there but need to be channeled and better exploited.

David Moreno, president of the Front for the Defense of Machu Picchu, representing all the grassroots organizations and residents of the town said in turn that it is not that they refuse any kind of modernization that leads to a better being but it is necessary to address once and for all the many requirements they have and that in one way or another had been seeing could be achieved with this on-site sale of tickets to the llacta of Machu Picchu.

Finally, both the Minister of Culture, Lesly Urteaga, and the Minister of Foreign Trade and Tourism, Juan Carlos Mathews, declared that they will make the best of their efforts to contribute to Machu Picchu becoming a first class TOURIST DESTINATION and that from their portfolios they will make efforts to achieve this, for example, in the case of the Ministry of Culture, they will try to ensure that the cultural offer in Machu Picchu Pueblo is offered permanently with the staging of plays from the various national casts that they sponsor in Lima or the effective promotion of handicraft exhibitions that are known to always attract the attention of locals and foreigners alike.  

In turn, Minister Mathews stressed that there are new segments of tourists that we have the opportunity to take better advantage of as the MICE segment, also known as business tourism that encompasses the field of tourism meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions and that could also be developed successfully in the town with the added value of making them at the foot of the main world tourist wonder of the Incas.

Author: Carlos Loayza Camarena

Specialist in Heritage Communication

The authors are responsible for the choice and presentation of the facts contained in this document and for the opinions expressed therein, which are not necessarily those of Tourism and Society Think Tank and do not commit the Organization, and should not be attributed to TSTT or its members.

This site uses cookies from Google to deliver its services and to analyze traffic. Information about your use of this site is shared with Google. By using this site, you agree to its use of cookies.