Peru's Machu Picchu set to reopen to tourists

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Peru's most treasured archaeological site, Machu Picchu, is due to be formally re-opened after it was closed for two months.

Heavy rains and landslides at the end of January destroyed rail access to the 15th Century Inca ruin - the most visited site in Latin America.

Every day the monument was closed, Peru lost $1m (£660,000) in tourism revenue.

The damaged railway line linking the citadel to the rest of Peru was mended with an urgency rarely seen before.

For all its other tourist attractions, Peru has had a tough lesson in just how central Machu Picchu is to its tourist industry.

"This incident with the train to Machu Picchu has definitely had an impact on us… I would say our sales have been reduced by 50%," said Bernard Schleien, director of the Latin America For Less travel agency.

Ninety percent of Peru's tourist revenue comes from the Cuzco region, where Machu Picchu's two-month closure meant the loss of around 60,000 tourists.

The local chamber of commerce says more than half the population of the regional capital Cuzco works directly or indirectly in tourism.

The re-opening of Machu Picchu is hugely important, not just for Peru's economy, but also its image abroad.

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