Focus: Tourism

Enviable position

Enviable position

Feb. 2, 2015

Over the past few decades, Ecuador's tourism sector has been slowly growing in reputation and attractions, and today has become one of the most stable and envied on the continent.

Employment in the sector is also set to rise. In 2013, both indirect and direct employment totaled 337,500 jobs, or 4.8% of total employment. The WTTC expects that this will rise by 2.3% in 2014 to 345,000 and again by 2.9% per annum until 2024 when it will employ 461,000 people (5.3% of total employment). In line with these growth figures, visitor numbers have also been growing, with a 14% rise between January 1, 2014 and August 25, 2014 to push the number just over the 1 million mark. Ecuador is most popular with Colombians, with 251,124 tourists making the trip, followed by the US with 184,540, and then Peru with 112,801 according to the Ministry of Tourism. It also expects that by the end of the year more than 1.5 million tourists will have arrived in Ecuador. This will be an approximately 10% increase on 2013, when 1.36 million people visited the country. Of those that arrived in 2013, 70% came via air while 29% came by bus, bringing with them $1.25 billion in foreign exchange according to the Ministry of Tourism.

HARD WORK

The government has been working hard over the past couple of decades to boost the tourism sector and get it to where it is today. One of the recent advertising campaigns that has been running is the All You Need is Ecuador promotion. The advertisement depicts the half submerged head of a caiman, with its back representing the Amazon and the Andes and its nose the Pacific Coast and the Galápagos Islands. The advertisement won at the CGI Awards in Photokina, which is held every two years in Cologne, Germany. The judges of the awards stated the image was “incomparable and one of the best that has been selected in the awards trajectory." The advertisement was able to communicate Ecuador as an enviable country with four different ecospheres in a biodiverse, compact, and unique world. The All You Need is Ecuador campaign has been unprecedented in tourism advertisements as it has been able to reach over 455 million people worldwide since its launch in 2014. It is campaigns such as these, as well as many in the past, that have been pushing Ecuador's image onto the international stage. Further evidence of this can be demonstrated by the fact it successfully held a PGA Tour event in September 2014, which was attended by 150 participants from 24 countries. The event was won by 22 year-old Taylor McCumber. The President of the Club Quito Tennis and Golf Club, Santiago Arias, specifically thanked the All You Need is Ecuador campaign in being instrumental in attracting the Tour to Ecuador.

The government has been experiencing a degree of success in its tourism industry recently; however, it has no plans to rest on its laurels and has laid out a set of objectives and targets it wishes to reach. In September 2014, the Minister of Tourism, Sandra Naranjo, attended the Second Small Hotels Inter-American Network Encounter, which was held in Quito. She emphasized the need for cooperation to help strengthen three main areas: security enforcement, the quality of destinations and tourism products, and the improvement of connectivity and promotions. During her speech, she also announced the implementation of a new grading system for hotels to improve the quality of services offered. Hotels will be ranked with quality seals of platinum, gold, silver, and bronze. These will be given to hotels that specifically stand out in their field and will allow tourists to easily distinguish between high- and low-quality services. It is expected that the level of services will improve as hotels compete to get the highest seal of approval. The Ministry will also be launching a new electronic system to digitize the lodging books of hotels, allowing the information to be handled in a more orderly way. Hotels will register online and the service should streamline the registering of guests in hotels, lodges, and hostels. The Ministry has also announced an investment of $270 million in security services for tourism. The money will go to 15 police stations that operate in 23 provinces and should cover almost 100% of tourism activities.

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