Peru Cancels Privatization of Machu Picchu Ticket Sales After Mass Protests


Tourist visits to the ruins of Machu Picchu, a historic Inca city in the Andes, are a major source of income for Peru. After the government turned over sales of entrance tickets to the site to Joinnus, a private company, an indefinite general strike was declared by local business owners, residents and travel unions. After a week long blockade, the government canceled the privatization.

“There is a plan to privatize Machu Picchu. We cannot allow it because the cultural heritage belongs to all Peruvians and cannot be handed over to a few. We consider it an unnecessary measure when we have a system that is working,” - Alfredo Cornejo, tourism operator.

Machu Picchu

In the 15th century, the Incas built Machu Picchu, a massive citadel complex high up in the Andes mountains of southern Peru. Abandoned after Spanish conquest, the ruins were developed into a major tourist destination in the 1980s. Today, around 1 million people visit the site annually, paying an entrance fee of 152 Peruvian soles (US$45) each – which goes to the national government.


In early January 2024, Peru’s Ministry of Culture announced that it would privatize sales of entrance tickets to Machu Picchu to reduce alleged ticket counterfeiting and scalping. The contract was awarded to Joinnus, an event promotion and online ticket sales company, in return for a 3.9% commission: a revenue stream equal to almost four times the amount of money given to the local government to maintain the site each year.


The Ministry of Culture was accused of awarding the contract to Joinnus (which is owned by Credicorp, Peru’s largest financial company) without conducting a public bid. Small businesses also said that they were worried that the company would disenfranchise locals by re-selling customer data to the highest bidder since the contract did not include any data privacy terms.


On January 24th, 2024, local tourist and hospitality facilities closed their doors indefinitely while thousands of protestors mobilized to block railways lines to the ruins, demanding that the contract be canceled. Residents also demanded the resignation of Leslie Urteaga, the Minister of Culture. The government responded by sending in police who fired tear gas at the protestors.

Tourism Hit

Visitor numbers plunged in wake of the protests. The Association of Cusco Tourism Agencies estimated that the financial losses to the local economy amounted to US$4.7 million in the first week alone prompting the local mayor to denounce the privatization. The national government quickly backed down and agreed to sit down and negotiate with the local government and unions.


On February 1, 2024, the negotiators agreed on a ten point plan that they named the “Declaration of Machu Picchu,” under which the Joinnus contract was terminated immediately in return for suspension of the indefinite strike. The local government also agreed to investigate charges of corruption by local officials and the alleged manipulation of the ticketing system.

Company Response

"Although the contract in question ends in August 2024, we are sending a letter to the Ministry offering to advance its expiration date and making ourselves available for the start of a new selection process, if it deems it convenient." Joinnus company statement.

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