Stricter controls at Machu Picchu

By | Category: Travel news

As an open air attraction, you might think that the Inca site of Machu Picchu in Peru would be able to comfortably take thousands of people a day with little social distancing problems.

Visiting Machu Picchu this year is robably not on the cards for international travellers

The Inca site of Machu Picchu will have strict controls over visitor numbers when it reopens. Originally planned to open on April 1st, this date was put back to July 1st as the virus spread. At that time, only 675 visitors would have been allowed in each day.

The opening date has been postponed again but this time no future date has been suggested. When is anyone’s guess but given that Peru is still seeing an upward trend in cases this may not be for a while.

But when it does open, only 2,244 people will be allowed to visit each day. Quite how this very precise number was calculated, I don’t know but it is about what visitor numbers would be like in a normal low season. It is about half of the numbers expected in  the height of the season.

The most recent information is that if you visit, all visitors will have to wear masks throughout the visit. Tour groups will be limited to just seven people and distancing should be observed.

The decision to close hit hard the 100,000 Peruvians who rely on tourism at Machu Picchu for their livelihood. There is little other local work and those with families have faced a trying time. Needless to say for the Cusco regional government and Peruvians, it is a question of which is worse – the virus or having no income to buy food for their families and themselves.

The Cusco government has urged the Peruvian ministry of transport and communications to allow cross-border travel to Cusco to help boost the local tourism industry by establishing what it calls safety bubbles so that visitors from neighbouring nations like Colombia, Bolivia, and Chile can enter and to allow tourism to resume.

In certain parts of the country, children under 14 years of age and those over 65 are still not allowed out. Curfews are also in place in some regions. Few recreational facilities are open all of which suggests there will be a very short tourist season if there is one at all.

For Britons and EU residents there is still an advisory not to visit Peru.

What it really needs is a plummeting virus case figures and the return of international tourism and at the moment that seems a little while away.

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