It was once a remote – and little-known – part of the world.
But, since the advent of global travel,Machu Picchu has become a victim of its own success – with local officials now trying to manage visitor numbers with timed tickets.
According to a report announced on Tuesday, Peru’s Ministry of Culture will implement a new permit system, which will limit tourist access from July 1.
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Must-see: Now limited to visitors, a stunning view of the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu in the Peruvian department of Cusco
Much like a theme park, the initiative will require all travellers to make reservations online from the official Machu Picchu website or via a UK or Peru-based tour operator.
Guests will be restricted to two entry periods, in the morning from 6.00–12.00, or in the afternoon from 12.00 to 17.30. Those wishing to stay for the day will have to purchase two tickets, one for the morning and one for the afternoon.
An official Machu Picchu Tour guide will also be compulsory, with groups facing a maximum capacity of 16 people.
The decision comes just ten years after the ancient citadel was first declared a ‘New Wonder of the World’, sparking huge global interest from globe-trotters.
But, featured on myriad bucket lists the world over, its new-found popularity caused unwelcome human traffic.
In 2008, Unesco and the Peruvian Government agreed that no more than 2,500 people should visit the site per day.
Demand: The decision comes just ten years after the ancient citadel was first declared a ‘New Wonder of the World’, sparking huge global interest from globe-trotters
Due to a lack of emergency management, limited road access from Santa Maria and Santa Teresa and poorly managed waste facilities, increasing numbers of tourists would be potentially very dangerous.
In 2014 1.1million people reached its dizzying peak.
Fortunately, LATA member Journey Latin America believes that Machu Picchu will remain just as popular with the new system – and it will allow authorities to closely manage footfall around the site.
Tony Mason, CEO of the Latin American Travel Association, said: ‘LATA brings together a number of Peruvian tour operators who organise tours to Machu Picchu and it also has a wealth of experience working with Peru’s official tourism body, PromPeru.
Busy: In 2008, Unesco and the Peruvian Government agreed that no more than 2,500 people should visit the site per day
‘Machu Picchu is one of Peru’s most important tourist sites, attracting millions of visitors every year. We anticipate that the new system introduced by the Ministry of Culture will regulate the flow of travellers entering the site and help to preserve the authenticity of this national treasure.
‘This new system emphasises the importance of tourism to Peru as well as the efforts being made by governments to improve the visitor experience at the destinations’ tourist attractions.
‘We would like to highlight that for the first six months of the new permit system, Machu Picchu entry tickets booked using the old system for visits between July and December 2017 will be honoured’.
Meanwhile, back in the UK, London’s Peckham has become the latest – albeit surprising – region in the world to crack down on tourism.
Residents of the district are being warned by Southwark council not to let out their rooms or houses via Airbnb if they are current or former council properties, as it claims a steady flow of visitors can be ‘damaging to local communities’.
Officials are following in the footsteps of other cities including Paris and New York, as well as Barcelona, which is currently having a major crackdown on the use of sites like Airbnb.