As Peru prepares to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Hiram Bingham’s discovery of Machu Picchu, the chief of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, told reporters Monday that tourist access must be limited to protect and preserve the site.
“Machu Picchu is a victim of its own success, because the interest is huge,” Bokova told reporters after meeting with President Alan García. “But at the same time, for us and for the Peruvian people, there is an interest in protecting it.”
She said UNESCO is planning to hold a conference in Paris this May to discuss measures to protect Machu Picchu, which has been on UNESCO’s World Heritage Site list since 1983.
The conference will include international experts, including the Peruvian delegation, UNESCO’s director general Irina Bokova said during an official visit to Peru.
“We are going to organize with the permanent delegation from Peru in UNESCO a conference with experts to explore different ideas to protect the site,” Bokova said.
As reported in Peruvian Times, last August, the UNESCO World Heritage Committee recommended that Peru take measures to control the number of tourists that visit Machu Picchu.
At the time, the committee considered including Machu Picchu on the List of endangered World Heritage sites due to the high number of tourists that visit. The figure peaked at a record 858,211 in 2008, but then eased during the last two years due to the world economic crisis and damage from landslides and flooding last year that forced the closure of the ruins for more than two months.