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Lima – Upon the successful evacuation of tourists from the town of Machu Picchu (formerly Aguas Calientes) due to the intense rainfall that occurred last week, the Minister of Foreign Trade and Tourism of Peru, Martín Pérez, has stated the following remarks:
- The city of Cusco, located 110 kilometers (68 miles) southeast Machu Picchu, maintains all its tourist activities under normal conditions. Rainfall in this city, the ancient capital of the Inca Empire, presents the usual seasonal characteristics (moderate rainfall). Thus, all the archeological and cultural attractions in the city and its surroundings continue open to the public. The complete listing of the sites that are receiving visitors, both in the city and its surroundings, as well as updated images, can be found on www.peru.info and www.turismoperu.info.
- The Machu Picchu Archeological Complex, as well as the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu itself, have not suffered any damage at all, according to the verification conducted by the Minister of Foreign Trade and Tourism. A special team from UNESCO is expected to arrive soon in order to verify the situation in the citadel. This organization listed the Machu Picchu Sanctuary as a World Heritage Site in 1983.
- Even though the citadel has not been affected by the weather, and therefore can receive visitors, the railway connecting the town of Machu Picchu (the Ollantaytambo-Machu Picchu route) has suffered serious damage in different points, especially by kilometers 78, 79 and 102. According to the private companies that run the service, the rehabilitation of this route will require between seven and eight weeks, provided the weather conditions being favorable.
- During the evacuation of tourists, an emergency service was put into operation between Ollantaytambo and the town of Machu Picchu. However, the Government does not maintain said service to transport passengers or tourists to the Machu Picchu Sanctuary.
- The Ministry of Transport and Communications has announced that it has started the repairing of the non-asphalted route that connects Alfamayo and the Hidroeléctrica railway station – which also connects Santa María and Santa Teresa en-route. From that point, it will be possible to take the train to the Machu Picchu railway station.
- The Inca Trail, the traditional trekking route that reaches Machu Picchu built by the Incas and which nowadays tourists walk in several days, is closed every year during February in order to allow maintenance. This procedure is under way this year and the National Institute of Culture (INC) will assess the situation of the route in March and, according to the results to be obtained, will decide whether to reopen the Inca Trail or to look for an alternate option for those who have already bought their entrance tickets (due for March), such as modify the validity dates of said tickets or give such buyers their money back.
- The Peruvian Government is already making all its efforts to make a second way to access Machu Picchu available in the medium term.
- PromPerú, the Exports and Tourism Promotion Board, is about to launch, along with the private sector, a big advertising campaign to promote tour packages to Cusco as well as the destination itself, both domestically and abroad.
- It is also worth mentioning that the weather phenomena that affected the town of Machu Picchu did not have a widespread impact; they were concentrated in certain zones of the Andes. Most high valued Peruvian destinations such as Arequipa, Iquitos, the Moche Route in the northern coast, and Paracas, south of Lima, among many others, are entirely ready for the visitors to modify their tour packages, offering dozens of attractions. Information on these destinations can be found on www.peru.info and www.turismoperu.info