LIMA – Known as one of the wonders of the ancient world, the citadel at Machu Picchu is the jewel of Peruvian tourism, but now authorities are seeking to diversify the historic and nature site’s offerings in the Cuzco region, which was the capital district of the Inca Empire.
The ruins at Machu Picchu are the focus of attention for thousands of tourists who visit Peru all year round, but few are familiar with the rest of the 32,500 hectares (81,250 acres) of the Historic and Nature Sanctuary that also holds numerous other archaeological sites and natural riches, according to what the site’s director, Jose Carlos Nieto, told Efe.
The Sanctuary chief said that officials with the Culture Ministry and Sernanp national protected areas service are preparing a development project based on the Preservation Plan for the site and on the recommendations of UNESCO.
The Culture Ministry, he added, “has emphasized neighboring archaeological complexes and new roads have been discovered,” while “the level of protection for the flora and fauna has been increasing.”
“In the past few years, fires have been avoided, since there is no illegal logging, (and) that has allowed the flora and fauna to recover,” he said.
Nieto also said that “all that represents an opportunity to diversity the tourist offering” to important sites like 50 Gradas, Intipunku, Incaraccay and Wiñahuayna, among others.
The aim is to implement these measures as part of a master preservation plan for 2015-2019, which was approved after two years of work and places emphasis on organizing and developing economic activities such as tourism.
The new master plan includes diversifying the routes that can be visited within the Sanctuary and arranging for western access by the railway that links Cuzco with Machu Picchu.
Nieto said that currently tourism “is concentrated just in the city of Machu Picchu and on the No. 1 route of the Inca Road,” despite the fact that there are actually six known Inca roads within the preserve.
Some of the roads have been made unusable due to natural events, but now plans are in the works to make the entire road network available and operative to further develop local tourism, he said.
He also said that authorities are working to develop the natural attractions in the preserve, given that the area is where the Andean and Amazon zones intersect.