Each year millions of people from around the world travel to new and exciting destinations. These world travelers go off to every corner of the globe hoping for an experience that will bring adventure, exposure to new and different cultures, and for some people, just the opportunity to escape the monotony of every day life. Whatever the reason for their travel these tourists represent a growing global industry and many countries advertise the variety of opportunities that a trip to their particular country would provide. However, with the growth of the tourism industry comes an increase in impacts that tourists have on the countries they are visiting. One country that has experienced a significant increase in tourism is Peru. Over the past few decades the number of tourists visiting Peru each year has grown to over one million people (Smith and Hurt 2011). Peru is home to several unique cultural and biological sites that bring tourists from around the world. Peru’s most popular tourist attraction is the ancient Inca site of Machu Picchu. Since its discovery in 1911, the Machu Picchu region of Peru has experienced a significant increase in infrastructure, most of which has been related to tourism. This paper examines how the introduction of tourism and infrastructure has impacted the Machu Picchu region of Peru and the implications these impacts have for other historical sites. By using the framework of political ecology, this study examines the tourism industry in Machu Picchu and the potential for a shift in the current system towards more sustainable tourism practices.

Paper prepared for the Environmental Studies Senior Seminar/Geography Capstone.

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Unpublished Paper

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