Following the launch of Ecuador’s new global marketing campaign earlier this year, the country’s Minister of Tourism Sandra Naranjo paid a visit to Toronto with a presentation to showcase the destintion, which is gaining traction in the Canadian marketplace.
According to the Minister, Ecuador is a leading travel destination with visitor numbers growing 14 per cent in 2014, while revenues from tourism have shot up by 22 per cent so far this year.
“Canadians have discovered our country,” she said, noting that Canada is a priority market for the country’s tourism sector. The arrival of Canadian tourists to Ecuador has increased exponentially over recent years; in 2013, nearly 30,000 Canadian tourists travelled to Ecuador and for 2014, up to October, there has been growth of more than 20 per cent year-over-year.
Naranjo spoke of the four main regions of Ecuador, starting with the Galapagos, which is described as “a living museum and a showcase of evolution.” Ninety-two per cent of the land is “National Park” classification and is a place where giant turtles, sea lions and exotic birds are not afraid of people. Adventure tourism is a huge draw for visitors to the Galapagos, with activities including swimming, diving, snorkeling, hiking, guided nature tours and bird watching.
The Pacific Coast is more than 1,600 kilometres of beaches and tropical climate. In addition to whale watching, surfing, body-boarding, kayaking, paragliding, fishing and shopping in Guayaquil, Naranjo spoke of this region’s cuisine.
The Pacific Coast is known for its seafood dishes flavoured with coconut, banana and green plantains. In Esmeraldas, home to the largest Afro-Ecuadorian community, the culture offers a distinctive flavor in their cuisine as well as vibrant celebrations of their culture.
Naranjo added that Ecuador as a whole has seen a recent boost in restaurants, making gastro-tourism a major draw for the country.
The Andes offers heritage cities, an avenue of volcanoes, indigenous communities, outdoor markets and a historic train that crosses the Andes.
“You don’t sleep in the train but stay in haciendas along the way,” Naranjo explained.
As for the capital city of Quito, Naranjo said the historic center makes an interesting contrast with the modern city, with 52 churches built in the 16th and 17th century.
Ecuador’s Amazon Rainforest, which makes up 40 per cent of the country’s territory, is the most accessible in South America and is home to 10 per cent of the world’s known species.
In the Amazon, visitors can stay in jungle lodges while enjoying the lush greenery, winding rivers and towering waterfalls. Yasuni National Park is the largest protected mainland area in Ecuador and is the most biologically diverse place on the planet, making wildlife viewing a must while visiting.
Naranjo also noted the country’s small size, making travel within quick and easy.
The Gallup World Poll ranked Ecuador as the fourth-safest country in South America and Naranjo said this makes the integration of luxury and community seamless when it comes to tourism.
The Minister also travels to Montreal this week to meet with Air Canada, to strengthen business ties in order to expand Ecuador’s air connectivity.
For more information, visit www.allyouneedisecuador.travel/trade.