Ecuador tourism chief offers reassurance after political killing

Ecuador’s tourism minister and the Latin American Travel Association have offered reassurances over the safety of the country following the shooting of a presidential candidate after a campaign event last week.

Tourism minister Niels Olsen described the killing of Fernando Villavicencio on August 10 as a “tragic loss” which “pierces the core of our peaceful legacy”. A countrywide 60-day state of emergency was declared following the assassination.

Olsen said Ecuador had historically stood as “a beacon of peace in South America”, adding: “In light of the current circumstances, we want to reassure the global community that Ecuador remains unwavering in its dedication to the security and prosperity of its tourism sector.”

Olsen also noted strong measures brought in by the government to clamp down on organised crime and drug trafficking, and said: “Transportation services, hotels, restaurants, and main tourist attractions across the nation operate without interruption and prioritise the safety of our esteemed visitors.

“While addressing isolated incidents connected to organised crime, it’s essential to highlight that these events are confined and do not overshadow the broader, positive tourist experience Ecuador offers.”

Lata chairman Martin Johnson said: “Lata is saddened by the current situation in Ecuador, a country that has generally avoided political unrest, and is monitoring the situation very closely remaining in regular contact with partners on the ground.

“The UK Foreign Office advice remains unchanged and Lata tour operator members are reporting that most holidays are unaffected at this time.”

He added: “We do, as always, recommend that travellers book through a reputable tour operator, who will keep a close eye on the situation and be able to make any changes to your itinerary, in the unlikely event that this becomes necessary.”

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