The current airport in Cusco makes getting to Cusco and visiting Machu Picchu very difficult for international tourists with limited time in Peru. Currently it only allows for domestic flights and only during the daytime. Often flights would be delayed so much that travelers were forced to try again the next day.
Now the government of Peru has announced that they will invest $460m in the a new international airport in Cusco. Machu Picchu is Peru’s top tourist attraction but there are concerns over the impact of high visitor numbers. “This new airport will not only mean more tourists will be able to come, but it will generate more jobs… and help surrounding communities,” President Humala said.
At a ceremony on Wednesday, he enacted a law that allows the expropriation of land in the town of Chinchero where the new international airport would be built. The investment would help the government to tackle poverty, he said, “while always respecting ancient culture”. Tourism is the main source of income in the region.
Machu Picchu is a world heritage site and the UN’s cultural agency, Unesco, has previously warned about uncontrolled access and urged the authorities to make conservation a priority. Currently, entrance to Machu Picchu is limited to some 2,500 visitors a day, amid concerns about the impact on the environment and ruins. Cusco is the main starting point for visitors wishing to visit the site, who can make the 112km (70 mile) journey either on foot or via bus and train.
Many people who visit Peru wish to only travel to Cusco and the Lost City of the Incas. Now it will be easier to get in and out of the city. This is very excited for our country and our city. I hope you will all visit or come back once the new airport is built.