Foreign tourists denied entry to Machu Picchu
Friday 29 July 2011
Peru's extravagant celebrations of the centenary of the rediscovery of Machu Picchu descended into farce this week, after a bureaucratic wrangle that saw hundreds of tourists from around the world barred from entering the Inca ruins.
Last week, the local branch of Peru's National Institute of Culture (INC) abruptly ruled that no more than 2,500 people could visit Machu Picchu per day, a move aimed at preventing damage to the site.
On Tuesday, hundreds of frustrated tourists began picketing the official ticket office in downtown Cusco, the former Inca capital that is three hours from the archaeological site.
After widespread condemnation – not least from Cusco's army of tour operators – the INC bureaucrats backtracked and raised the limit temporarily to 3,300.
But on Wednesday, authorities were still having trouble clearing the backlog of visitors.
"We have had a wonderful reception in Peru. The people have been fantastic. But when it comes to Machu Picchu, we have been treated disgustingly," said Koen Cherlet, 31, from Belgium.
The new daily limit of 3,300 visitors itself came in for criticism from archaeologists and other tourism experts who warned that it was unsustainable.
The problems are the latest in a series of alleged management errors. Two years ago, the ticket office at the site entrance was closed. No warning was given and many tourists continue to make the mistake of arriving at the entrance only to discover that they have to make an hour-long trip back to the ticket office in Aguas Calientes, the nearest town.
Tourist films plane's descent just metres above packed Caribbean beach
Bali nine: Welcome to 'Execution Island' – the Indonesian holiday resort where foreigners are sent to die
How Homer Simpson discovered the Higgs boson over a decade before scientists
The 'sex selfie stick' lets you FaceTime the inside of a vagina
Harrison Ford plane crash: Star Wars actor 'seriously injured' after light aircraft crash lands
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Nigel Farage promises Ukip will not 'stigmatise' would-be migrants – and says he wants 'everyone to speak the same language'
Ex-head of MI6: 'We shouldn't kid ourselves that Russia is on a path to democracy'
Most people think legal tax avoidance is just as wrong as illegal tax evasion, poll suggests
£50000 - £100000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This award-winning digital age...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This software development organisation are loo...
£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This digital production agency ...
£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This digital production agency ...