Peru plans Machu Picchu airport
New airport could make the famous Inca site easier to reach for international visitors
As one of the country's most famous landmarks, a Machu Picchu tour is a must on an , with the ancient Inca site attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors every year. to Peru
And now access to Machu Picchu could be made significantly easier with Peru's government unveiling plans to build a new airport nearby.
Peru's president Ollanta Humala said the airport would help boost tourism to Machu Picchu and the surrounding region.
Located in the nearby town of Chinchero the new international airport will be built with the help of $460m (£290m) of government investment.
"This new airport will not only mean more tourists will be able to come, but it will generate more jobs ... and help surrounding communities," President Humala said.
An existing airport, which is only able to handle limited daytime flights, was not sufficient, Mr Humala said.
The construction of the airport is sure to make travel to Machu Picchu much easier for international visitors.
However, despite Mr Humala's reassurances that the investment would help the government to tackle poverty "while always respecting ancient culture", the news may also lead to concerns of the over the impact of increased tourism on the site.
Machu Picchu currently sees almost half a million visitors annually, a number which increases each year.
Although the authorities have limited the number of people who can access the site to 2,500 each day, UNESCO has previously raised concerns about the overdevelopment of tourism in the region.
It remains to be seen whether the government will stick to conservation measures already in place, or develop new measures following the opening of the new airport.
Stefaan Poortman, the director of international development at the Global Heritage Fund, believes that with so many other fascinating Inca sites in Peru, the government should protect Machu Picchu by highlighting some of the other things tourists can see and do in the country.
"There is a wealth of heritage sites spread out across the country, and Machu Picchu is by no means the centrepiece or the most important," he told the International Business Times.
"It's iconic and well-known, but at Global Heritage Fund, we are very interested in how we can diffuse the impact of Machu Picchu to other sites around Peru."