So Peru has announced that it is going to build a larger airport near Cusco to boost tourism to the area – and the inevitable furore followed with concerns about the impact higher numbers of visitors would have on conservation.
Well there are always two sides to every story – yes it is right to be concerned about the effect tourists are having on the fragile site of Machu Picchu, Peru’s main tourist attraction but the government has actually shown over the past years that they too are aware of this, putting in place various restrictions on numbers to both the site and the Inca Trail. The much talked about cable car project to the site has never transpired and anyway, who are we as outsiders to try to control the livelihoods of local people in much need of a boost to the economy?
It is all too easy to criticise what we perceive as taking away the remoteness of certain places – building roads high into the mountains which were once only accessible to trekkers spoils the traveller’s experience of a place for example, but also provides much needed access to the local people.
In Peru adventure travellers can still take the exciting overland option across the high altiplano to Cusco, enjoy a trek through the Andes following one of the many ancient Inca trails and arrive at Machu Picchu in awe of their surroundings whilst those who are less disposed to travel in such a fashion can arrive by plane, train and bus to the same site – and still be in awe. With careful monitoring of numbers, conservation worries can be allayed and thus more people can enjoy this mystical mountain citadel.
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