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Tourism officials urge calm as Chile unrest continues

Officials in Chile have released a statement attempting to allay fears the tourism sector in the country has been hit by recent unrest.

Protests over a hike in metro fares spun out of control earlier this month, prompting president Sebastian Pinerato to pledge sweeping social and economic reforms.

However, efforts to calm the situation have so far proved ineffective.

Chileans took to the streets again on yesterday, with thousands pouring into plazas and shutting down main boulevards.

Over the weekend, more than a million Chileans marched peacefully against inequality in Santiago, the largest protest since the country return to democracy in 1990.

Following the unrest, the undersecretary of tourism maintained touristic activity in Chile is “operating normally”.

José Ramón Valente Vias said this was the case in the most visited destinations such as San Pedro de Atacama, Elqui Valley, the islands of Rapa Nui and Juan Fernández, the Chilean Patagonia and Torres del Paine National Park.

While acknowledging some businesses remained close in Santiago, he added public transportation was gradually resuming its usual operations, while most metro stations are open.

Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport is fully operational, and all airlines’ flights are functioning according to schedule.

Bus terminals are operating normally throughout the country, the minister added.

However, the British Foreign & Commonwealth Office said visitors should expect to see a military presence in major cities.

Further large demonstrations are expected in Santiago and other cities.

“You should follow the instructions and advice of the local authorities, remain vigilant, monitor local media for updates and avoid protests and demonstrations,” the FCO added.

Further advice can be seen here.

Around 80,000 Brits visit Chile each year.

Image: Adrien Vautier/Zuma Press/PA Images

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