Ecuador’s government will spend $660 million to promote tourism
Almasalla Travel News- Ecuador’s government will spend $660 million over the next four years to promote tourism to the country and improve tourism-related infrastructure, development and training, said Vinicio Alvarado, the country’s tourism minister. Speaking Thursday at a press briefing at the Travel Mart Latin America conference in the capital city of Quito, Alvarado said Ecuador’s tourism ministry is seeking to expand promotion and development of the country’s many tourism attractions beyond the Galapagos Islands, which he described as the “jewel” of Ecuadorian tourism.
“We are expanding our promotion of Ecuador’s products and tourism industry, as we focus on our core principles of security, quality, connectivity, promotion and destinations and products,” Alvarado said. “Aspects of our tourism, including our gastronomy, have been overlooked. The question now is not about money but how we spend it. The Galapagos is the main destination but we have many products and destinations, and we have built new roads and highways so travelers can have breakfast in the Andes and dinner in the Amazon.”
Ecuador is seeking to focus attention on various regions of the diverse country, including the Amazon rain forest, to create a “second or third Galapagos” in terms of popularity with international tourists, said Alvarado. “We have the most accessible Amazon region in South America. This is an area of tremendous biodiversity, a great natural habitat,” he said. “We have also built roads that provide access to our volcano region, which a few years ago was not possible.”
Alvarado said Ecuador is creating programs to help tourism entrepreneurs expand their operations and open hotels and other facilities in several areas of the country. Other programs will focus on improving service standards and quality, creating new environmental and operational regulations for tourism operators, standardizing rules and regulations governing tourism companies and enhancing the training of the country’s tourism industry workers.
“Our tourism industry is run 99 percent by private industry,” Alvarado said. “The government is working to improve the tourism infrastructure and support of entrepreneurs who are willing to invest. Every 12 tourists to Ecuador creates one [tourism industry] job.”
Although the country offers a multitude of tourist attractions, including Quito, one of the world’s first UNESCO World Heritage sites, government officials at the conference estimate the Galapagos accounts for 80 to 90 percent of the country’s tourist visits.
Ecuador has barred the development of new Galapagos hotels as the country seeks to standardize environmental and operational standards among tourism companies, said Christian Teran, Ecuador’s national tourism undersecretary. “Galapagos tourism is growing, but many hotels are operating outside of the desired environmental and organizations standards,” Teran said. As a result, “We will establish a new standard of operation for hotel and tourism companies” in the region, he said.