Monday, 15 May 2017

PERU: Mandatory Guides For Tourists To Machu Picchu

Visitors to Machu Picchu will have to hire an official guide to enter the Inca Citadel starting July 1, a top official at the Ministry of Culture said..

“Most tourists have made those arrangements long in advance, but for those who have not, there are official guides available (for hire) at the entrance,” said Dr. Elías Carreño Peralta, the Ministry of Culture’s official in charge of implementing the 2015-2019 Machu Picchu Master Plan.

Currently, the official guides at Machu Picchu’s entrance charge approximately a hundred soles for up to four visitors, or approximately 25 soles, or just under $8, each.

He said the regulations mandating the use of official guides is the culmination of months of public hearings and workshops with local authorities, tourism federations and travel businesses.

A ministerial resolution approving the new Regulations of Sustainable Use and Touristic Visits for the Conservation of the Inca City of Machu Picchu was published in February.

Carreño Peralta’s comments to Peruvian Times come a week after Cusco’s regional Culture Directorate announced that starting July 1, visitors to Machu Picchu will have to enter in two shifts, one in the morning and the other in the afternoon.

The first shift would be from 6 a.m. until 12 p.m. and the second from 12 p.m. until 5:30 p.m.

The maximum size of tourist groups will also be reduced from 20 to 16 visitors, Carreño Peralta said.

Carreño Peralta offered an in-depth explanation about the changes coming to Machu Picchu in an exclusive interview with Peruvian Times, published in January.

The new ticketing system for visitors to Machu Picchu to enter the Inca citadel in two shifts, one in the morning and the other in the afternoon, will start July 1.

Cusco’s regional Culture Directorate announced the long-heralded change on its Machu Picchu ticket sales page in a pop-up communique.

The first shift would be from 6 a.m. until 12 p.m. and the second from 12 p.m. until 5:30 p.m.

“Reservation and sale of entrance tickets for these two different shifts will be starting June 1, 2017,” in accordance with the UNESCO-endorsed Master Plan for the iconic Inca sanctuary. “In the month of May the necessary adjustments will be made in the system,” the communique said.

A government resolution approving the new Regulations of Sustainable Use and Touristic Visits for the Conservation of the Inca City of Machu Picchu was published in February.

“This measure is adopted with the aim of ensuring a better flow of tourism, conservation and preservation of the citadel in accordance with the Master Plan of the Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu,” the statement said.

Dr. Elías Carreño Peralta, the Ministry of Culture’s official in charge of implementing the 2015-2019 Machu Picchu Master Plan, explained this measure, among several others, in an extensive interview with Peruvian Times, published in January.

The Master Plan lays out a drastic “reconceptualization” ofthe site, which each year receives an increasing number of visitors.

A record 1.4 million visitors toured Machu Picchu in 2016, an 11 percent increase over the prior year, according to official figures provided by Peru’s Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism.

“Unlike petroleum and gold, which can be depleted, Machu Picchu should remain forever,” Carreño Peralta said, “But all of us have to do our part and respect the regulations.”

Immigration office deported four tourists this week, on charges of acts against “public and internal order.”

The tourists —from Uruguay and Argentina— were caught painting graffiti on an adobe wall in the Tricentenario square in Cusco. Although the graffiti was painted on a “non historical” wall that is covered in cement and white paint, and caused no irreparable damage, authorities said the paintings damaged the visual aspect of the city.

Justice Luz Cardenas ordered the tourists to repaint the wall before they were escorted to the Bolivian border for deportation on Wednesday. Three of the tourists were from Uruguay — Sereno Borderolle (31), Nicolle Saad (23), and Luisina Moreira (26)— and the fourth, Ludmila Nykolajczuk (27), was from Argentina.

Under the new Immigration Law enacted in March this year, (D.L. 1350, Art. N° 58° subarticle “f”), the tourists are prohibited re-entry into Peru for 15 years.