Peru’s Machu Picchu re-opens… for one Japanese tourist

LIMA (AFP) – Peru’s best-known tourist site Machu Picchu has opened after months of coronavirus closure, but for just a single visitor – a Japanese man stranded in the country by the pandemic.

“The first person on Earth who went to Machu Picchu since the lockdown is meeeeeee,” Jesse Katayama posted on his Instagram account alongside pictures of himself at the deserted site.

“This is truly amazing! Thank you,” he added in a video posted on the Facebook pages of the local tourism authority in Cusco.

Katayama spoke against the backdrop of the majestic mountaintop dotted with ancient ruins that once attracted thousands of tourists a day but has been closed since March because of the coronavirus.The Japanese boxing instructor, identified by local media as a 26-year-old from Nara, has been stuck in Peru since March.

He told a Peruvian newspaper he had only planned to spend three days in the area, but with flights cancelled and movement limited by the virus, he found himself stuck there for months.

Eventually, his plight reached the local tourism authority, which agreed to give him special permission to visit the Inca city, re-opening the site just for him.