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02nd Nov 2020

Peru’s Machu Picchu reopens following eight month Covid closure

Alan Loughnane

machu Picchu

The site has been closed for just the second time in its history.

Machu Picchu has reopened after nearly eight months of closure due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The ancient city, located high in the Andes and the pinnacle of Peru’s tourist sites, was closed this year for just the second time in its history since it opened in 1948.

The other closure occurred in 2010, when heavy and prolonged rains in the region caused safety concerns.

Restrictions will be in place with just 672 tourists allowed to access the site each day, which is about 30% of the pre-Covid number.

The site attracted 1.5 million visitors in 2018 alone and is the largest Peruvian attraction for international tourism.

“Today, Machu Picchu opens,” Foreign Trade and Tourism Minister Rocio Barrios said in a speech at the location.

“It opens with protocols, it opens to say that we are reactivating ourselves but with responsibility and great prudence, because we see everything happening in the world.”

The coronavirus pandemic has hit the country’s tourism industry particularly hard, with tens of thousands of people relying on income from visitors, especially in mountainous Cusco region.

Machu Picchu was also in the news recently as it allowed a 26-year-old Japanese tourist to enter.

Jesse Katayama found his dream trip thwarted by Covid-19 as he purchased his ticket to enter the park on 15 March only to have it close the next day.

He decided to stay in the country until Machu Picchu reopened and the boxing coach spent his time teaching boxing classes to local children in Aguas Calientes.

He was rewarded for his perseverance as a local tour company, with help from the national Ministry of Culture, gave him special permission to enter Machu Picchu.

He was accompanied by two photographers who documented the experience along with Jose Bastante, the site’s chief.

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