09:40 | London (UK), Dec. 16.
The citadel of Machu Picchu has once again been recognized at the World Travel Awards (WTA) —a prestigious event that is hailed as the Oscars of the travel industry on a global scale— coming in first place in the World's Leading Tourist Attraction 2021
Machu Picchu —a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the New Seven Wonders of the World— competed with important global attractions such as Burj Khalifa (Dubai, UAE), EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum (Ireland), Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, the Grand Canyon National Park (U.S.), the Great Wall of China, Ha Long Bay (Vietnam), IMG Worlds of Adventure (UAE), Intramuros (Philippines), AND Las Vegas Strip (U.S.).
Other nominees in this category included Magic Kingdom Park, Walt Disney World Resort Florida (U.S), Mount Kilimanjaro (Tanzania), Niagara Falls (Canada), Table Mountain (South Africa), Taj Mahal (India), The Acropolis of Athens (Greece), and Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi (UAE).
The announcement was made on Thursday during a ceremony held in London (UK), in which the World Travel Awards unveiled the 2021 winners of its World categories.
"The ancient citadel of Machu Picchu was hailed World's Leading Tourist Attraction, with Peru also collecting World's Leading Cultural Destination," the WTA said in a statement.
110 years have passed since the arrival of U.S. explorer Hiram Bingham in this impressive stone city nestled atop a mountain ridge in the jungle of Cusco.
Although the first direct references to the discovery of Machu Picchu date back to 1902, when a group of locals visited the Inca structure vestiges, it was Bingham who —sponsored by Yale University and the National Geographic Society— initiated the scientific study of the last capital of the Incas in 1911 and made it known to the outside world.
World Heritage Site
With the passage of time and greater awareness of its importance as an Inca religious, ceremonial, astronomical, and agricultural center, Machu Picchu was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO on December 9, 1983.
The National Sanctuary of Machu Picchu has an impressive Andean and Amazonian biodiversity. It is home to 384 species of trees, 468 of orchids, 279 of ferns, 443 of birds, 84 of mammals, 22 of reptiles, and 17 of amphibians.
New Wonder of the World
Additionally, July 7 marked the 14th anniversary of the day Machu Picchu was named one of the New 7 Wonders of the World.
The Inca Empire's most representative construction was crowned on 7 July 2007 along with the Great Wall of China, the Taj Mahal in India, Petra city in southern Jordan, the Roman Coliseum, Christ the Redeemer in Rio, and the Maya Chichen Itza archaeological site in Mexico.
Safe Travels Stamp
In October 2020, Machu Picchu was one of the first destinations to get a 'Safe Travels' stamp from the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).
On the other hand, the visitor capacity has gradually increased since lockdown restrictions were eased. According to the Ministry of Culture, the Inca citadel can currently receive up to 3,500 visitors a day.