Machu Picchu, the ancient Inca citadel nestled high in the Andes Mountains of Peru, is one of the most renowned and visited tourist destinations in the world. Its rich history, breathtaking architecture, and stunning natural surroundings attract millions of visitors each year. In this article, we will delve into the statistics and trends surrounding the annual tourist footfall at Machu Picchu.

History of Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu was built in the 15th century as an estate for the Inca emperor Pachacuti. It was abandoned just a century later and remained hidden from the world until its rediscovery in 1911 by Hiram Bingham, an American explorer. Since then, Machu Picchu has captivated the imagination of people worldwide and has become a symbol of ancient Inca civilization.

Importance of Machu Picchu as a Tourist Destination

Machu Picchu’s UNESCO World Heritage status and its inclusion in the New Seven Wonders of the World have significantly contributed to its popularity as a tourist destination. The site offers a unique blend of history, archaeology, and natural beauty, making it a must-visit for travelers seeking a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Tourism Trends in Peru

Peru has experienced a surge in tourism in recent years, with Machu Picchu being the crown jewel of the country’s tourist attractions. The Peruvian government has made efforts to promote and develop sustainable tourism practices, ensuring that the influx of visitors benefits the local communities and preserves the cultural and natural heritage of the region.

Factors Influencing Tourist Footfall at Machu Picchu

Several factors influence the number of tourists visiting Machu Picchu each year. Accessibility plays a crucial role, as the site is primarily reached through the city of Cusco. Improved transportation infrastructure, including the construction of the Chinchero International Airport, has made it easier for travelers to reach Machu Picchu.

Additionally, the popularity of adventure tourism, such as hiking the Inca Trail, has contributed to the increasing number of visitors. The rise of social media and the desire for unique travel experiences have also fueled the interest in visiting Machu Picchu.

Statistical Analysis of Annual Tourist Visits

According to official figures, Machu Picchu welcomed approximately 1.5 million tourists in 2019, making it one of the most visited tourist attractions in South America. The number of annual visitors has been steadily increasing over the years, with a significant boost in international tourists.

It is worth noting that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a severe impact on tourism worldwide, including Machu Picchu. Temporary closures and travel restrictions have led to a sharp decline in visitor numbers in 2020 and 2021. However, as global travel resumes, it is expected that Machu Picchu’s popularity will rebound.

Impact of Tourism on Machu Picchu and its Surrounding Areas

The surge in tourism has brought economic benefits to the local communities around Machu Picchu. It has created job opportunities and stimulated the growth of the hospitality and service industries. However, the increased footfall has also raised concerns about the preservation of the site and the sustainable management of resources.

Efforts are being made to mitigate the impact of tourism on Machu Picchu and its surrounding areas. The Peruvian government has implemented visitor restrictions, such as limiting the number of daily visitors and imposing time slots for entry. These measures aim to ensure a more enjoyable experience for visitors while preserving the fragile archaeological site.

Preservation Efforts and Sustainable Tourism Practices

Preserving the integrity of Machu Picchu is of utmost importance. The Peruvian government, in collaboration with UNESCO, has implemented various conservation projects and initiatives. These include strict regulations on construction and development, as well as ongoing maintenance and restoration efforts to protect the site for future generations.

Sustainable tourism practices are also being promoted to minimize the ecological footprint of visitors. These include waste management, responsible trekking, and the encouragement of cultural sensitivity among tourists. It is essential for travelers to respect the heritage and natural environment of Machu Picchu while enjoying its wonders.


Machu Picchu’s annual tourist footfall showcases its enduring appeal as a world-class destination. With its rich history, awe-inspiring architecture, and stunning landscapes, it continues to captivate the hearts of millions of visitors. As tourism resumes post-pandemic, it is crucial to strike a balance between promoting sustainable tourism and preserving the cultural and natural heritage of this iconic site.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How many tourists visit Machu Picchu each year?

The number of tourists visiting Machu Picchu annually is approximately 1.5 million.

2. What is the peak tourist season at Machu Picchu?

The peak tourist season at Machu Picchu is from May to September when the weather is dry and conducive for exploring the site.

3. Are there any visitor restrictions at Machu Picchu?

Yes, there are visitor restrictions at Machu Picchu. The number of daily visitors is limited, and entry is allowed in specific time slots to manage the flow of tourists and preserve the site.

4. How does the tourist footfall at Machu Picchu compare to other world heritage sites?

Machu Picchu is one of the most visited world heritage sites in South America and attracts a significant number of tourists each year. While it may not receive as many visitors as some of the more famous sites in Europe or Asia, its cultural and historical significance makes it a top destination for travelers.

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