Despite the questionable success of the Maya Train project in the Yucatan, one popular tourist attraction has recently shattered its all-time daily visitor record due to the new tourist transportation option.
New Chichén Itzá Attendance Record
According to the General Director of the National Institute of Anthropology and History, Diego Prieto Hernández, the popular Chichén Itzá Mayan archaeological site broke its single-day attendance record on January 23 with 7,500 tickets sold.
That popular tourist destination was not alone, as several other Mayan sites also recorded an increase in visitors from across the Mexican Caribbean.
When asked about the reason for the sudden increase in year-over-year tourists to new record levels, Prieto Hernández cited the convenient access provided by the new Mayan Train service.
“We have had a notable increase in the influx of visitors to the archaeological zones throughout the country, but particularly from the Mayan area and very particularly from the areas near the Maya Train route,” he recently said in a report about the new attendance record.
Why is Chichén Itzá So Popular?
Back in 2007, Chichén Itzá was selected as one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
Chichén Itzá was a Mayan city used for about 1,000 years, starting in about 450 A.D. It declined about 1440 A.D., and it was 400 years later before the site was actually rediscovered and excavated by archaeologists.
One of the most popular tourist attractions at the site, El Castillo, or the Pyramid of Kukulkan, is one of the best-preserved structures of its type remaining from the ancient Mayan world.
It also includes popular tourist sites such as the ancient ball court, the sacred cenote, the Temple of the Warriors, and the Osario Pyramid.
The UNESCO World Heritage site, Chichén Itzá is the second most visited tourist site in the entire country of Mexico.
Impact of the Maya Train
One of the key missions of the Maya Train project was to foster easier access for more tourism in the region.
By connecting the main regional airport in Cancun with other locations around the area, the idea was that tourists would be more likely to spend a longer vacation getaway to the Mexican Caribbean and see more places if they were conveniently accessible to travelers.
At least in the case of the Mayan sites in the rural parts of the Quintana Roo and the Yucatan, it appears that the initial results point towards the expanded tourism access being a success for the program.
What Travelers Need to Know
The convenient Maya Train access for travelers visiting the rural Maya sites in the Yucatan definitely enhances the value of a vacation getaway to places like Cancun, Tulum, Playa del Carmen, and Merida.
Not only is the access an improvement for travelers but the additional funding being provided to the sites to upgrade tourism facilities, such as restrooms, gift shops, and restaurants, will also be a value enhancement when visiting the ancient Mayan cities.
However, this all comes at a price. Prices are expected to increase for tickets to the site, and of course, travelers will need to pay for the Maya Train rides.
Also, convenient access for travelers seeking to visit the historical sites means that the number of visitors will increase, and crowds will grow larger at popular tourist locations such as Chichén Itzá.
Other tourist hotspots around the world, such as in Europe that have faced increased visitor numbers have had to resort to strategies such as timed entry to control the number of tourists at one time.
That may soon become a requirement during the peak travel periods at popular Mayan tourist destinations such as Chichén Itzá.
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