Tucan Travel is warning travel agents to book Inca Trail tours as soon as possible for 2018 because of fears trek permits will “sell out” within weeks of going on sale.
The tour operator issued the plea following an announcement by the Peruvian Government that the Inca Trail trek permits would be released early for 2018. They are due to go on sale on Monday, October 2. Normally the permits are released in January.
The operator warned permits were selling out faster as the destination increases in popularity and said there was a risk there would be no permits available if clients delay booking until January because they want to wait for any peak season sale offers.
Rolf Stanley, Latin America destination manager, said: “Permits for trekking the Inca Trail Trek during peak season, between May and September, booked out within six weeks of being released to the public for 2017.
“With availability being released earlier than usual, there is a real risk that many people will be caught out and will be left empty-handed.
“While there are plenty of other alternatives to the Inca Trek, for those who feel it is the only way to reach Machu Picchu, it’s important that they book their trip as soon as possible.”
A spokeswoman said the operator expected Inca Treks to be sold out by the end of this year.
The operator has just released its new brochure for 2018-2019, with a 15% off launch offer.
Some of its most popular Peru tours include the 19-days Complete Peru, from £2,379; the 12-day Andes Express from Lima to Cusco, from £1,682; and the 12 day Inca Trail & Jungle, from £1928. All prices include the 15% saving.
Colin Stewart, chairman of LATA (Latin American Travel Association) said he expected a record number of tourists travelling to Machu Picchu and hiking the Inca trail in 2018.
He said: “It is anticipated that the early release of permits will help regulate the number of permits sold and will give a fairer opportunity for those wanting to purchase a permit in the peak months which traditionally sell out within minutes.
“We urge any travellers wanting to experience the Inca Trail to purchase their permits as soon as they go on sale.”