The ancient Inca city of Machu Picchu in Peru has been named the leading eco friendly tourist destination in South America.
It has won the 2010 World Travel Award, often described as the ‘Oscars’ of the travel industry, as the best ecologic destination on the continent, beating Patagonia in Argentina and Brazil’s Pantanal tropical wetlands.
The world famous site in the Andes Mountains 100 kilometres from Cusco, the capital of the ancient Inca Empire, was nominated by a staggering 185,000 tourism operators from around the world.
It was praised for its attempts to make sure the large numbers of tourists visiting every year have a little impact as possible on the environment.
Peru’s Promotion Commission for Export and Tourism said Machu Picchu is one of the most important destinations in South America and it has to be managed properly. ‘This award shows the tourism sector has an impact in economic, social and environmental developments of the country,’ said Promperu’s tourism director Rocio Merino. He described it as ‘the most important and beautiful legacy of the ancient Peruvian people’.
The ancient citadel, one of the new Seven Wonders of the World and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is considered to be one of the most extraordinary examples of scenic architecture in the world.
It is located in southern Peru’s Cuzco department, surrounded by a tropical forest where it is perched on a mountain some 2,430 meters above sea level on the eastern slopes of the Andes.
It is the South American country’s top tourist destination, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors every year from around the world.
The city of Machu Picchu itself was built at the top of a granite mountain. The Incas, using ingenious engineering techniques, were able to transport heavy stone blocks up the mountainside, and once there, they used their excellent masonry skills to produce amazingly polished stones that fit together perfectly.
Peru will receive the award on November 07 in London in the World Travel Market’s 17th annual awards ceremony.
Other winners include Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro, voted South America’s leading beach, TAM airlines, the best South American airline and Peru’s Luia Jorges Chavez international won the leading South American airport section.