Renowned as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World since 2007, Chichén Itzá, the complex of Mayan ruins on Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula, is at risk of losing that distinction due to the number of vendors who harass tourists.
The iconic step-pyramid that is El Castillo, or the Temple of Kukulcán, lies at the center of the Chichen Itzá archaeological site in Yucatán, and has become a popular symbol for all thing Maya and indigenous in Mexico and abroad.
It is that status that granted the Maya archaeological site the recognition as one of the New Seven Wonders, chosen from a list of 200 monuments through a worldwide vote that drew millions of people.
But he chairman of the Mexican Association of Travel Agencies (AMAV) has declared that the site is at risk of losing its Seven Wonders designation and its millions of visitors per year due to the hundreds of peddlers that have “invaded” it, as they accost tourists and create conflicts with tour operators.
Sergio González Rubiera said that the New7Wonders Foundation has already warned the government of Yucatán that if the peddling issue isn’t resolved, Chichén Itzá could be removed from the list.
“The situation is worrisome for us, as 70% of the 2 million tourists who visit Chichén Itzá do so through the travel agencies in Cancún and the Maya Riviera that I represent,” said González.
He charged that vendors have assaulted travel agency staff on-site and have also imposed extra charges to allow tourist buses to enter the archaeological zone.
The state Culture and Tourist Board has granted permits for 600 vendors in that zone, but it acknowledges that the actual figure has exceeded that for several years, and currently more than 1,000 vendors share the grounds with tourists.
Last year, Chichén Itzá was the second most popular archaeological site in numbers of visitors, who totaled 2.1 million, second only to Teotihuacán in Estado de México, visited by 2.3 million people during the same period.
Source: El Economista (sp)