In an effort to revitalize foreign tourism, the national Emergency Operations Committee announced Wednesday that it will admit foreign travelers who have been vaccinated against the Covid-19 virus. For those entering the country without the vaccination, the COE said it will accept results of a negative rapid antigen test or a PCR test taken within three days of entering Ecuador. Under the new rules, vaccinations must be obtained at least 72 hours before travel.
COE President Juan Zapata said the changes, which take effect March 22, recognize the fact that millions of potential tourists in North America and Europe have already been vaccinated. “We are adjusting to the new reality of the effectiveness of vaccination and understand that millions and millions of people are being vaccinated every day,” he said. “We also understand that proof of vaccination will be the new world standard for travel.”
Zapata said that the old rule of a negative PCR test taken within 10 days of departure will no longer be valid after Monday. “Ten days is too long a period to transpire between the test and entry into the country,” he says. “The 72-hour rule is what most countries require.”
The number of international tourists entering Ecuador has declined 90 percent since the pandemic was declared a year ago, Zapata says. “As more people are vaccinated, we are launching an intensive program to encourage travel to Ecuador. The tourism sector has suffered more than $2 billion in losses and we intend to do everything we can to revive it.”