The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) warns British nationals that there is an official state of emergency in Cajamarca, Celendin and Hualgayoc in Peru, lasting 30 days from 11 July 2012. The announcement follows violent rioting in the Cajamarca province that took place in the first week of July. Britons planning to travel to Peru are advised to avoid the Cajamarca region if possible, although there are currently no official travel restrictions in place.
The unrest arose from locals opposing the Peruvian government's Conga Mines project. Six days of protests culminated in five deaths, and the violence threatens to compromise foreign visitors' safety. That said, the conflict has eased in the last few days and both the army and the church have intervened to mediate between anti-mining groups and the government.
Peru receives roughly 54,000 British tourists annually, according to FCO and is a particularly popular destination for British backpackers. Cajamarca, located in the northern Andes, is known for its natural hot springs, traditional village life and warm climate. However the president of Canatur, Carlos Canales, has stated: "Unfortunately, I predict that for two or three years, the region will be off the tourism map in Peru."
The archetypal Peruvian tourist attraction is Machu Picchu in the southern region of Cusco, which remains unaffected by the situation in Cajamarca.
Visitors to Cajamarca this summer are advised to monitor developments and local news. We equally suggest British holidaymakers pick alternative areas to travel to if possible, such as Cusco, the coast or the southern Andes.
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