Tour Operators & Advisors Forced to Cancel Trips as Peru Shuts Down Machu Picchuby Dori Saltzman /
Several tour and cruise operators have been forced to cancel departures of tours to Peru and Machu Picchu, after the country shut down its famous landmark. Train service to the site has been shut down for even longer.
According to the Associated Press, Peru shut down Machu Picchu "indefinitely" this past Saturday (January 21), as anti-government protests and violence continue to rock the country. The closure also includes the Inca Trail, which leads up to the site, as well as the international airport in Puno (Inca Manco Capac), according to a statement sent to TMR by Promperu (the country's tourism bureau).
As a result of the closure and the continued violence, Collette has had to cancel one Peru tour and two Machu Picchu and Galapagos tours, which in total affected 42 travelers. All were given full refunds or vouchers to be used at a later date.
"The safety and security of our customers and employess is our number one priority," Jeff Roy, executive vice president of revenue management and pricing at Collette, told TMR, adding the company does not currently have any tours operating in Peru.
"We continue to monitor the events in Peru very closely and maintain regular communications with our partners on the ground in the destination. Should the situation on the ground abate, we plan to operate all tours and will advise if the ongoing events change future travel plans or the current itinerary."
Both Globus and the The Travel Corporation have also canceled departures for their various brands.
"The Globus family of brands has been closely monitoring the situation in Peru," Steve Born, chief marketing officer for the Globus family of brands, told TMR. "And while our thoughts are with all those involved in the situation there, our top priority is the safety of our travelers. Given this, we began cancelling all Peru vacations for all guests in December. Since that time, we have proactively cancelled all Peru departures through the end of February. We are working directly with our travel agent partners – and their clients – to provide support."
Born added the company will make future decisions based on the insights of their on-the-ground team in Peru. "Our team will communicate those decisions with affected advisors and guests with as much advance notice as possible."
"Given the resurgence of protestors and limited access to the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu, TTC Tour Brands has suspended all trips to Peru through mid-February," a spokesperson for the company, which includes Trafalgar and Insight Vacations, among others, told TMR. "All guests affected have been notified and TTC Tour Brands will continue to monitor the situation to determine when trips can resume safely and with limited interruptions to itineraries.
Lindblad Expeditions has also been forced to cancel its offerings in the contury, which includes both land and land/cruise tours.
"Current geopolitical events in Peru that have disrupted travel have impacted our ability to deliver experiences in the country at our usual high standards," a spokesperson told TMR. "Because of the continuing uncertainty within the country, we have made the difficult decision to reschedule all upcoming expeditions to the country through February (excluding the February 18, 2023, and February 25, 2023, Upper Amazon departures aboard Delfin II). All impacted guests have been notified and we are working to re-accommodate them on future departures."
"We continue to closely monitor the unfolding situation and make any additional schedule changes as appropriate for the safety and comfort of our guests and team members."
Travel advisors have similarly been impacted. (See how Diana Hechler, president of D Tours Travel, salvaged her client's vacation after their long-planned Peru tour was scuttled by the ongoing situation.)
Cruise lines have not been immune either. Passengers onboard Seabourn Sojourn, which is in the midst of an 80-night sailing, were not allowed off during a service call in Peru late last week.
And a Celebrity Cruises spokesperson told TMR "The safety of our guests and crew is always our top priority and given the current situation in Peru, we have made the decision to pause all stops to the destination through February 4, 2023. We are continuously monitoring the situation and will advise our booked guests of any further adjustments to upcoming sailings."
Celebrity sailings impacted are those that combine the Galapagos with time spent in Peru.
Violence in Peru broke out last month after then-President Pedro Castillo was impeached and put in prison for trying to dissolve the country's Congress. Protestors want the new president (Castillo's vice president) to resign. More than 50 people have died since the protests began.
Some of the most intense clashes between protesters and the police have been in Cusco, where Machu Picchu is located. The airport there has been shut down more than once since the violence started.