Quebrada de Humahuaca, Argentina: opportunities and threats of tourism on a world heritage cultural route
Quebrada de Huamahuaca is a narrow valley in northern Argentina that runs north-south some 150 Km. It served as communication over 1000 years between the Andean high plateau and southern valleys that take to present Argentinean planes; it is a portion of two significant cultural routes: the pre-Hispanic network of Andean roads (Qhapaq Ñan) and the Spanish Intercontinental Royal Route. On the basis of the tangible and intangible heritage components, the site was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2003 .The inscription had an impact on tourism, since the number of visitors increased dramatically, along with the provision of infrastructure for visitors. Tourism became an opportunity for development of local communities but, at the same time, it represents a threat for the preservation of the environment and of the heritage assets, including traditional ways of life. This paper introduces the main features of the property and the impact provoked by tourism after the inscription on the World Heritage List.