UNESCO Gives Peru 18 Months to Implement Recommendations

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) gave Peru 18 months to implement recommendations from its World Heritage Committee, the InfoturPeru website wrote.

During the committee’s recent 39th session in Bonn, Germany, UNESCO decided not to include the majestic Inca citadel in its list of endangered world heritage list, pointing to the Peruvian state’s efforts to tackling a series of problems through multi-sector cooperation.

Peruvian culture officials had said that there was fear prior to the meeting that UNESCO would include Machu Picchu on the list due to issues like overcrowding, poor tourist infrastructure and lack of waste management.

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The number of tourists that visit Machu Picchu has almost doubled over the past decade from less than 600,000 in 2004 to over a million last year, according to government figures posted by Fertur travel agency. Since 2011, the average daily number of visitors to Machu Picchu has far exceeded the daily limit of 2,500 agreed to by Peru and UNESCO.

Earlier this year, the government approved a US$43.7 million Master Plan for Machu Picchu that called for a dramatic “reconceptualization” of the site. The plan involves creating a visitor and orientation center in the gorge below the mountain-top ruins that will serve as the entry point into Machu Picchu, as well as the creation of new routes up to and through the site.

The government’s 2015-2019 plan also calls for building a new exit ramp, a help center and installing toilets within the ruins.

Along the routes within the citadel, visitors will face time limits at specific points to prevent bottlenecks, while they will also be joined by certified guides to prevent tourists from roaming around Machu Picchu on their own.

Many people who visited Machu Picchu before the heyday of large tour groups have lamented the changed, but UNESCO’s chief, Kishore Rao, recently praised Peruvian officials for their management of the Inca site during a recent visit.

“Their labor reflects the perfect state of conservation and maintenance of the site, which is admired by the whole world,” Rao was reported saying. “To be in Machu Picchu signifies the realization of a personal dream.”

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