Cusco is the capital city of the Inca Empire, situated in the Andes mountains of Peru.

Peru will seek to build an international airport near the southern city of Cusco, a tourist magnet that has long suffered from being unable to receive major flights from abroad, President Ollanta Humala said.

“I will ask Congress to pass a law to build an international airport in Cusco, and I ask for progress to be made on land purchases to that end,” Humala said in a speech marking independence day and his first full year in office.

Currently, foreign travellers must first stop in Lima before flying to Cusco and on to the fabled Inca citadel of Machu Picchu.

There is a small airport in Cusco mainly for domestic flights, but it is surrounded by mountains and is too small for large aircraft.

The Cusco area welcomes about 3,000 tourists a day, many of whom are headed for Machu Picchu.

Humala, 50, a center-left leader whose country's economy has grown at a quick clip largely thanks to booming mining exports, also said he would propose a constitutional amendment on Peruvians' right to water, and pledged to take on terrorism and the drug trade head on.

Peru recently edged out Colombia as the world's top cocaine producer. - Sapa-AFP