To what extent are there clear, identifiable perceptions of tourism impacts in the region of the world heritage site, Machu Picchu?

Masters Thesis

Daniel, C. 2019. To what extent are there clear, identifiable perceptions of tourism impacts in the region of the world heritage site, Machu Picchu? Masters Thesis Canterbury Christ Church University Faculty of Social and Applied Sciences
AuthorsDaniel, C.
TypeMasters Thesis
Qualification nameDegree of MSc by Research

Through literature studied, there appeared to be a bias towards the negative tourism impacts at Machu Picchu. As the researcher, I decided to travel to the site and conduct qualitative research through semi-structured interviews, to obtain accurate and real-time perceptions from tourists, residents and tourism workers. This was to ascertain whether the literature studied was accurate in suggesting tourism was slowly destroying the sanctuary, or whether there was a balance, taking into consideration perceived positive impacts, such as employment opportunities, the development of infrastructure and improved transport links. Interviews were conducted in various locations around the region of Machu Picchu, in the UK, and perceptions also received via email. Despite a low rate of interview agreement, I was able to retrieve valuable and relevant insights into these perceived tourism impacts.

This augmented desk study offers a range of perceptions to assess and counteract the negative impacts and to potentially improve economic, environmental and sociocultural situations by instating sustainable insights into the management of the heritage site and within its region. In general, tourists viewed tourism as an important means of income for the local people, as it created many opportunities for the Peruvian people and allowed them to teach others about their heritage; enforcing civic pride and suggesting positive social change.

Contrarily, many local people felt used as a money-making machine, and believed that tourists did not care for their history nor respect their traditions, and the driving force of financial gain behind tourism was creating a lesser meaning regarding their ancestry. Environmentally, the daily volume of tourists accessing the site was putting tremendous strain upon the landscape and monument, creating problems of erosion and littering. Subsequently, this was also found to be lessening the overall experience for the tourists, who were not able to enjoy the site to the full extent due to overcrowding and noise levels.

Overall, it was found that the site was surviving, but that the confusion between stakeholders resulted in a lack of clear management strategies in place, leading to limited organisation and clear guidelines to abide by. If this were to continue, there is speculation that the site will become enlisted onto UNESCO’s blacklist of world heritage sites in danger, and may even cross the point of no return while surpassing its daily carrying capacity.

Details regarding the various topics discussed during the semi-structured interviews can be found in section 3.5.

KeywordsTourism impact; Machu Picchu; World Heritage site
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Deposited20 Dec 2019
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