The train route to Machu Picchu reopened on Wednesday (Jan. 31) after more than a week of protests had blocked access to the world-famous Inca site, a popular tourist attraction in Peru.
Protesters were blocking the tracks from Cusco to Aguas Calientes, a town at the base of Machu Picchu, to push back against a new centralized ticketing system, reports say.
The blockade stopped hundreds of tourists from reaching the ancient ruins, which are located high up in the Andes.
The protest had to do with a new electronic ticketing platform for Machu Picchu, which locals say would hurt businesses by shifting the administration of sales to a private company authorized by the ministry of culture.
Peru’s government on Wednesday, however, gave in to the protestors and backtracked on its plans, according to the Associated Press.
The current ticketing system has been in the hands of the state for 15 years.
The controversial new contract that was set to begin with Joinnus, a virtual ticketing firm that’s owned by a wealthy economic group, has now been terminated, it appears.
Train service to Aguas Calientes, which was suspended on Friday (Jan. 26), is back up and running, but visitor arrivals have slowed, reports say.
Speaking with the Associated Press, local hoteliers are comparing the situation to the COVID-19 pandemic when tourism came to a near halt.
Any tourists that stuck around to visit Machu Picchu during the protests had to take on a longer (and more difficult route) to get there, including a 210 kilometre drive from Cusco and a two-hour walk to the region where the Inca site is located.
From there, they then had to walk an additional 2.5 hours to reach the stone citadel.
PAX reached out to G Adventures, which specializes in tours to Machu Picchu, for comment.
“We’re glad that the situation has been resolved and that our travellers can continue to visit Machu Picchu again. The conversations between the communities of Aguas Calientes and the government officials continue and we hope that there will be no more issues in the future," said Sarah Miginiac, general manager for Latin America at G Adventures, in a statement.
Peru, including Machu Picchu, was notably the backdrop for last year's inaugural GX event, G Adventures' first-ever community tourism summit.