Cuzco : Touristic entrance gate of Peru
Cuzco was the capital city of the Inca Empire before conquistadors arrival in 1533. Then, Cuzco slowly became less prominent untill Machu Picchu rediscovery in 1911 by Hiram Bingham.
Part of the World Heritage since 1983 and listed as one of the New 7 Wonders of the world in 2007, Machu Picchu relaunched touristic attractiveness and business in Cuzco but also in Peru.
Tourism is the third (1) most important industry of Peru.
According to the minister Jose Luis Silva, 70% of tourists visiting Peru go to Machu Picchu. Economic challenge concerning this site is essential. One million tourists (nationals and internationals) will visit Machu Picchu in 2012.
Cuzco, that hosted 460 000 tourists in 2010 and 30% more in 2011 (1), pretends to be the departure point for all Incas sacred valley trips (including Machu Picchu) and an entrance gate for Amazon.
It generates many jobs in hotel business, restoration, travel agencies and transport.
Alejandro Velasco Astete international airport was built to improve Cuzco access in order to developp Machu Picchu touristic business.
Second airport of the country behind Lima, it received, in 2009, 1 288 200 passengers mostly from domestic flights.
Its location, downtown, only enables low air traffic.
According to the political will to make Peru a world touristic place in the 10 next years (1), massive investments are planned to improve and increase touristic facilities.
In 2010, peruvian government launched an invitation to tender to build a new airport in Cuzco region. The current airport has been considered too small to deal with bigger air traffic.
Chinchero, village 17 miles away (28 km) from Cuzco, seems to be the chosen location to welcome Cusco new airport. Alternative locations have been picked up : Canchis and Anta.
Construction works should start by 2013 according to Peru’s private investment promotion agency Proinversion. The actual cost is 500 million dollars (2).
Boeing 747 airplanes could land on the new airport. It will generate a 2,6 million annual passengers flow by 2021. Air traffic will be possible day and night.
Many countries as China, USA, France, Canada or South Korea (16 in total) are interested in the airport concession (designing, building, financing and operating). South Korea sees it as a good opportunity to promote its know-how. Incheon international airport (Seoul) is one of the most efficient in the world.
2,7 million tourists will visit Peru in 2012 (1)
(1) Foreign Trade and Tourism ministry : Mincetur
(2) Transport and Communication ministry