Peruvian Congress pushes for new road access to Machu Picchu

Peruvian Congress pushes for new road access to Machu Picchu

Peru’s Congress voted unanimously Thursday in support of building a new access road to Machu Picchu.

In a 75-0 vote, lawmakers declared that paving the narrow dirt roads connecting the towns of Ollantaytambo, Santa María and Santa Teresa, located northwest of Machu Picchu, is “a public necessity and a priority of national interest.”

In January, train service to Machu Picchu was cut off after the Vilcanota River overran its banks, wiping out the rail line and stranding thousands of tourists  for days until they were airlifted out by helicopter. The Inca Citadel, Peru’s biggest tourist attraction, was closed for two months.

Machu Picchu “is an economic resource and a symbol for the nation, and for that reason it is the duty of the state and the Congress to hand down the laws that allow us to guarantee its conservation and adequate accessibility,” said José Carrasco, chairman of the Congressional Budget Committee.

Since the disaster in January, pressure has been mounting from Peru’s tourism sector to develop other routes in and out of Machu Picchu, not only to provide emergency exits from the zone, but also to break the near-monopoly held by PeruRail and the town of Aguas Calientes, located in the gorge below the ruins.
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Authored by: Rick Vecchio

Rick Vecchio, Fertur’s director of development and marketing, was educated at the New School for Social Research and Columbia Graduate School of Journalism. He worked for Pacifica Radio WBAI and as a daily reporter for newspapers in New Jersey, New York and Massachusetts. Then in 1996, he decided it was time to realize a life-long dream of traveling to Peru. He never went back. While serving as Peru country manager for the South American Explorers from 1997-1999, he fell in love with Fertur's founder, Siduith Ferrer, and they married. Over the next six years, he worked as a correspondent for The Associated Press. Meanwhile, Siduith built the business, which he joined in January 2007. Now he designs custom educational and adventure tour packages for corporate and institutional clients, oversees Fertur’s Internet platform and occasionally leads special trips, always with an eye open for a good story to write about.

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