Plans for a new airport near Cusco aimed at boosting tourism to the Inca ruins of Machu Picchu and its surrounding area have been unveiled by Peru’s President Ollanta Humala, BBC News has reported.
According to the President the current airport, which is only able to handle limited daytime flights, is not sufficient to support the high visitor numbers to the region and the government will invest US$460 million (£290 million) into the new airport.
"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.
According to BBC News, President Humala enacted a law on Wednesday (22 August) that will allow exploration of the land in the town of Chinchero where the new international airport would be built “while always respecting ancient culture”.
Machu Picchu is a world heritage site and the UN's cultural agency, Unesco, has previously warned about uncontrolled access and urged the authorities to make conservation a priority.
Currently, entrance to Machu Picchu is limited to 2,500 visitors a day, amid concerns about the impact on the environment and citadel.
Cusco is the main starting point for visitors wishing to visit the site, who can make the 112km (70 mile) journey either on foot or via bus and train.
The citadel of Machu Picchu, located 2,500m (8,200ft) above sea level, was built in the 15th Century by the Incas. It was rediscovered in 1911 by US historian Hiram Bingham.