Mar. 15, 2015


Giovanny Camacho

Ecuador

Giovanny Camacho

General Manager, Ciudad Mitad Del Mundo

"Around 60% of our foreign visitors come from the US, followed by Colombians."

BIO

Giovanny Camacho holds a degree in Advertising from the Universidad Tecnológica Equinoccial. He has experience in the communications, marketing, and management areas. He has worked at companies like Xerox, Pc 16, and Casa de Cultura Ecuatoriana. He was Director of Corporate Accounts at Prever Magazine, General Manager of MIU COMUNICACIONES, and Director of Technical Support in the area of political-institutional communications in Pichincha’s government. Since April 2014 he has been General Manager at Ciudad Mitad del Mundo.

How has Ciudad Mitad Del Mundo developed over the past few years?

The Ciudad Mitad del Mundo is a touristic, cultural, scientific, and commercial city in Ecuador, and was established over 30 years ago. Its architecture reflects the colonial style and today it features stores showcasing handicrafts from around Ecuador; there are also restaurants offering national and international gastronomy. Here you can enjoy the typical and delicious cuy, fritada, ceviche, and more. This is the meeting point of the most colorful cultural exhibitions and popular Ecuadorian art, making this small city the main tourist attraction in continental Ecuador. This city is a scientific exhibition of our ancestral societies in Ecuador and their amazing scientific and cultural heritage. The city has evolved over the years, consolidating itself as a touristic destination. Since my appointment to the management of the city nine months ago, we have boosted innovation by strengthening our touristic offering. For example, we have the Colonial Quito Pavilion, whose purpose is to share the architectonic, touristic, and cultural values of the City of Quito. It presents an exact replica of the complex colonial architecture from Quito's Historic Center, including its churches, squares, public buildings, blocks, and entire neighborhoods. The Cultural Patrimony National Institute declared it “Ecuador's cultural asset" back in 1989. There are exhibitions dedicated to Spain, France, and the scientific research of our ancestors, as well as a planetarium, educational workshops, and exhibitions for children, among others. Overall, we have also boosted the role of technology to strengthen the educational component of our offering for both locals and foreign tourists. For example, we have increased the offering of elements related to the Ecuadorian communities, their culture, traditions, and legacy. Ecuador is also a rich country in terms of diverse climate and geography. Our offering allows visitors to become somewhat familiar with Ecuador in its entirety in a single city within two to three hours. These efforts have been accompanied by our increasing activity in training our workforce.

What are the main countries of origin of your visitors?

Around 60% of our foreign visitors come from the US, followed by Colombians, who represent around 20-25% of overall foreign visitors. The remaining are split into several small percentages from neighboring countries such as Peru and Argentina. I do not think we have more than 10% of tourists arriving from Europe. Nevertheless, we have increased technical efforts in our promotion and have started to pay more attention to promotional techniques from Europe with our participation in Fitur in Madrid, Spain. We have already generated tourism packages targeting European tourists and some particularly specific segments such as wedding tourism. We have addressed European visitors with tourism packages in South America, as we are keen to become the regional center for visitors to South America.

“Around 60% of our foreign visitors come from the US, followed by Colombians."

What impact has Ecuador's joint efforts had to promote the country as a tourism destination?

We are heavily reliant on tourist arrivals. When considering the number of visitors since I took office in May 2014, I can tell you that we have increased it by 10-15%. This has enabled us to invest in improving our offering still further. There are other elements that have helped us in our efforts to promote Ciudad Mitad del Mundo, such as becoming the capital of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR).

What is the strategic plan for the future of the city?

Over recent months, having changed the management structure, we have focused on making the surrounding area much more attractive. For example, we created a façade management project to make our buildings more attractive to visitors. Our next step was to enter the European tourism market via Spain and adopt useful promotional techniques for application in Ecuador. We want to jointly promote the City in the country and are keen to strengthen ties with tour operators to generate specific tourism packages. We also want to further consolidate the position of the US market vis-à-vis our own market. When I took over, the city had around 550,000 visitors per year. Yet over the past nine months or so, we have already welcomed 750,000 visitors. My goal is to welcome one million visitors within two years, which is quite a challenge as Quito attracts 1.2 million annual visitors.

What is your general outlook for the tourism sector?

There will certainly be a rise in the number of tourist arrivals. Indeed, the idea is to make tourism the nation's main economic engine within 10 years. The country has a great potential in this sector with tourism products such as the cacao route of our internationally renowned commodity.

© The Business Year - March 2015

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