Updated: Tourists urged to stay in hotels as Ecuador state of emergency is declared

Tourists in Ecuador have been told to stay in their hotels after an outbreak of deadly violence across the South American country triggered a 60-day state of emergency. 

The latest incident saw masked gunmen break into a live TV station in the city of Guayaquil before the live feed cut out.

At least 10 people are reported to have been killed since the state of emergency was declared on Monday following various prison riots and the escape of gang leaders.

Increased criminal activity nationwide prompted the Ecuadorean Ministry of Tourism to recommend that tourists stay inside their hotels or accommodation until further notice and only move for essential travel.

The order was disclosed in updated Foreign Office travel advice, together with a warning that while all airports are currently open, some airlines have cancelled flights and key tourist destinations may be closed.

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office added: “Following the state of emergency  announcement, there has been an increase in the reporting of security incidents throughout the country, especially in Guayaquil and Quito. 

“There have been reports of a series of explosions, shooting, vehicles set on fire and the abduction of police officials and prison security guards. 

“This now includes an incident involving a state TV channel.”

British travellers are being urged to observe a daily curfew from 11pm to 5am, with the only exceptions including  passengers travelling to or from airports who will need to show passports or ID and their relevant boarding pass or flight booking. 

Ecuador, which governs the Galapagos Islands, will only allow passengers to enter airports. Family members and friends will not be allowed into the terminals to drop off or pick up passengers. 

“You may wish to leave extra time to travel to the airport, as extra security checks may be carried out on arrival. Please check your flight status with your airline or airport website before proceeding to the airport [in Quito or Guayaquil],” the FCDO advised.

“Travellers are likely to see increased military and police presence around key public buildings, airports and on the streets. 

“This may also include closure of the public buildings, shopping centres and key tourist destinations. 

“You should monitor local media and stay away from areas involving increased security activity.

“If an incident occurs near you, follow the instructions of police and other security officials at all times.”

Latin America Travel Association (Data) chief executive Danny Callaghan said:  Whilst the ministry of tourism in Ecuador has confirmed that tourism throughout the country will continue to operate with the ongoing provision of tourism services, we advise anyone with a trip planned to Ecuador during the state of emergency time frame to consult their tour operator and check the official UK FCDO advice.

“Lata is in close contact with the Ecuadorian authorities and our partners on the ground to gather more information to enable us to update our members accordingly.

“We recommend all those looking to travel to Ecuador in the foreseeable future to book via a reputable Lata tour operator to ensure their trip is protected.”

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