The Fight for Machu Picchu

A new airport threatens Machu Picchu, one of the Seven Wonders of the World


Back in 2018 the peruvian government announced plans for a new airport in Chinchero. An airport here would allow for more direct travel to Cusco, and therefore make it far easier for tourists to visit Machu Picchu. This would increase yearly attendance from 1.5 million visitors to nearly 6 million.

Why is this an issue? A sacred site such as Machu Picchu is only meant to hold a certain amount of a people a day. And with this new airport, the number of daily visitors would rise up to 22,000, which is almost 10x the limit set by UNESCO. That kind of influx of visitors would only add to the deterioration of the site that we have already seen such as the erosion of fragile foot paths and accidental destruction of sacred areas. But there is more to this story.

In some reports, they mention that the airport is being built “over Machu Picchu.” While this is false, it IS still being built over sacred lands. The airport is being built in the plains outside of Chinchero, a city that is home to many 15th century Incan ruins. Zero heritage impact studies have been completed for this build site. They have no clue what they could be building over or on. They could be destroying priceless material remains of Incan culture, but they just simply do not care. Even worse, in buying the land, the indigenous people who live there were completely deprived of any input. The Yanacona people were robbed of any chance to negotiate land sale.

Keep in mind: this isn’t just one airport being built. With it comes hotels, and more urbanization that archaeologists believe will completely smother the history and heritage that land has to offer.

You may not think that your voice means much: but you are dead wrong. An issue like this needs awareness, and that awareness comes through you.

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