Travel risk advisory firm Crisis24 said that the measure from the government had been taken in response to high crime, gang and organised crime activity. It further noted: “Under the state of emergency, certain constitutional rights are either restricted or suspended, including freedom of movement and assembly, as well as protections from warrantless searches and detentions. The decree also allows the armed forces to support the police in law-enforcement activities. Police and military forces will likely deploy in the affected areas and may conduct searches of individuals and vehicles.”
Advice given to clients and travellers is to maintain a high level of vigilance if they are in any of the affected areas: the San Martín de Porres and San Juan de Lurigancho districts of Lima, as well as the Bellavista, Ignacio Escudero, Marcavelica, Miguel Checa, Salitral, Sullana, and Querecotillo districts of the Piura Department.
Government advice to stay safe
The UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office updated its advice to travellers: “If you do decide to visit any area under a state of emergency you should follow instructions given to you by police, military or other officials. Political protests in Peru can lead to road blockades, suspension of train services, disruption in immigration services of land borders and airport closures – often without prior notice or estimated reopening timelines. Protests can be unpredictable, can include violence, and can spread and escalate quickly.”
It continued: “Foreign nationals in Peru cannot participate in political activities by law, including in demonstrations against the government. You should be especially vigilant and take particular care to avoid all areas of large gatherings, demonstrations and protests. If possible, you should remain in a safe place, follow the authorities’ advice, and monitor local media, including social media channels. Be wary of unverified, unofficial information.”
The US Department of State did not immediately change its advice about travelling to Peru, although the current information online states clearly the risks travellers take when heading to the country: “Exercise increased caution due to crime, civil unrest, and the possibility of kidnapping. Some areas have increased risk.”
Tourism in Peru
According to the World Tourism Organization, Peru recorded a total of 444,000 tourists in 2021, and is the 10th most popular South American nation for tourists to visit. Tourism generated around US$1.04 billion for Peru in 2021, so political unrest and warnings of how dangerous it could be to travel to the country will inevitably affect this income stream. Lima is the most popular city for travellers to visit, followed by Cusco.
While governments may not always be able to offer assistance to travellers, it’s good to know that insurance and medical assistance companies can, as was the case when PassportCard stepped up to assist tourists caught up in political violence.