Peru to save Incas' Lost City from threat of tourists

Peru's National Institute of Culture has released a 10-year master plan that is aimed at conserving the ruins of Machu Picchu, where heavy tourism and nearby development hasendangered the so-called Lost City of the Incas.

With the defeat of the Shining Path terrorist movement in the 1990s, Peru has been "rediscovered" by the international tourism industry and the hordes of visitors are causing erosion and other damage to the archaeological site which extends over some 76,000 acres.

In addition, mummies dating from the Inca period are being exposed to the elements and wild orchids are threatened by the increasing pollution.

Last year, Unesco threatened to place Machu Picchu, Peru's prime tourist destination, on its list of endangered cultural heritage sites. It has been on Unesco's World Heritage List since 1983.

In response, Peru's National Institute of Culture has released a 10-year master plan aimed at conserving Machu Picchu and the series of intricate Inca paths which many tourists use to approach the city.

Among other measures, plans include increasing the entry fee for foreigners from £10 to £15, limiting the daily maximum number of tourists to 2,500, and launching conservation measures to protect other ruins, wildlife and fauna along the Inca Trail.

Located atop a craggy peak in Peru's southern Andes, the 14th century archeological site recovered from oblivion in 1911 by US explorer Hiram Bingham, receives more than 2,500 visitors each day at the peak of Peru's tourist season.

According to the document's executive summary, 9,000 tourists visited the ruins in 1992, but that figure increased to 150,000 by 2002 and is expected to continue rising.

"It is estimated that, in a few short years, demand could increase to 4,000 or 5,000 tourists daily," the document stated.

Some 400 visitors who arrive at the ancient site have taken part in a two-day hike through the Peruvian jungle, following original Inca trails carved into the mountains, and journeying through landscapes of incredible beauty.

Their movements along the Inca roads cause pollution and pose a threat to the region's rich biodiversity, including an estimated 350 varieties of orchids.

Unesco has also criticised Peru for the absence of controled urban planning in nearby Aguas Calientes, a chaotic, ramshackle town and renowned tourist trap where trains unload visitors on to buses to ascend the mountain on the way to Machu Picchu.

The town's precarious location - much of it within the protected sanctuary - has proven dangerous. Last year, a mudslide triggered by heavy rains wiped out several buildings, killing a dozen residents.

The master plan from the Peruvian government calls for a series of incentive programmes "to relocate people who have occupied the protected area".

It also mentioned promoting other Inca ruins and trails in the area, offering "activities for visitors based on Andean rituals related to the cycles of the sun," which was worshipped in Inca culture.

Even before its release, the plan has faced a series of stiff resistance from local residents who oppose the creation of any new government controls to oversee national heritage sites.

Last month, some 1,000 visitors were forced to cancel or postpone trips to the citadel because a train service from Cuzco was suspended due to a protest in the area by locals angry at the proposed controls.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Life and Style
Child's play: letting young people roam outdoors directly contradicts the current climate
lifeHow much independence should children have?
Arts and Entertainment
Tycoons' text: Warren Buffett and Bill Gates both cite John Brookes' 'Business Adventures' as their favourite book
booksFind out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Arts and Entertainment
<p><strong>2008</strong></p>
<p>Troubled actor Robert Downey Jr cements his comeback from drug problems by bagging the lead role in Iron Man. Two further films follow</p>
filmRobert Downey Jr named Hollywood's highest paid actor for second year running
Life and Style
Dale Bolinger arranged to meet the girl via a fetish website
life
Property
Sign here, please: Magna Carta Island
propertyYours for a cool £4m
Life and Style
tech
News
The Commonwealth flag flies outside Westminster Abbey in central London
news
Arts and Entertainment
Struggling actors who scrape a living working in repertory theatres should get paid a 'living wage', Sir Ian McKellen has claimed
theatre
Extras
indybest
News
Skye McCole Bartusiak's mother said she didn't use drink or drugs
peopleActress was known for role in Mel Gibson film The Patriot
Arts and Entertainment
tvWebsite will allow you to watch all 522 shows on-demand
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Graduate Web Developer

£18000 - £28000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Excellent opportun...

Graduate Database Developer (SQL)

£18000 - £28000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Excellent opportun...

Community / Stakeholder Manager - Solar PV

£50000 - £60000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Senior Marketing Executive (B2B/B2C) - London

£32000 - £35000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...

Day In a Page

Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn
Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Meet the man who doesn't want to go down in history as the country's last Scottish Secretary
Legoland Windsor's master model-makers reveal the tricks of their trade (including how to stop the kids wrecking your Eiffel Tower)

Meet the people who play with Lego for a living

They are the master builders: Lego's crack team of model-makers, who have just glued down the last of 650,000 bricks as they recreate Paris in Windsor. Susie Mesure goes behind the scenes
The 20 best days out for the summer holidays: From Spitfires to summer ferry sailings

20 best days out for the summer holidays

From summer ferry sailings in Tyne and Wear and adventure days at Bear Grylls Survival Academy to Spitfires at the Imperial War Museum Duxford and bog-snorkelling at the World Alternative Games...
Open-air theatres: If all the world is a stage, then everyone gets in on the act

All the wood’s a stage

Open-air productions are the cue for better box-office receipts, new audiences, more interesting artistic challenges – and a picnic
Rand Paul is a Republican with an eye on the world

Rupert Cornwell: A Republican with an eye on the world

Rand Paul is laying out his presidential stall by taking on his party's disastrous record on foreign policy
Self-preservation society: Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish

Self-preservation society

Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish
Generation gap opens a career sinkhole

Britons live ever longer, but still society persists in glorifying youth

We are living longer but considered 'past it' younger, the reshuffle suggests. There may be trouble ahead, says DJ Taylor