FITUR 2024: Niels Olsen emphasizes the importance of tourism as a fundamental pillar for Ecuador’s economy

Madrid, Spain.- Ecuador will be the FITUR partner country and a notable participation is expected from this country with a official delegation that will be led by your Minister of Tourism, Niels Olsen. In an interview for the media that will cover the meeting, the executive tells everything his country has to offer tourists and what this sector represents for his economy.

F: What does tourism represent for the economic activity of Ecuador?

NO: Tourism in Ecuador is a fundamental pillar for its economy, representing the third most important non-oil industry in terms of income generation. In the first half of 2023, the tourism sector generated almost 1,000 million dollars in foreign currency, marking a significant growth of 25.7% compared to 2022, and achieving sales of tourism activities of more than 4,200 million dollars from January to September.

The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) predicts that Ecuador will recover its 2019 international tourist numbers in 2023, instead of 2024, thanks to its competitiveness and promotion actions.

How does it contribute to the creation of direct and indirect employment in the country?

Tourism in Ecuador plays a crucial role in the national economy, being one of the most important sectors for generating employment. This vibrant and diverse industry supports more than 550,000 families nationwide. Tourism's contribution to the Ecuadorian labor market is significant, offering job opportunities in a wide range of areas, from hospitality and guide services to transportation and tourist attraction management.

The tourism industry in Ecuador not only provides direct employment, since at least 52 other activities benefit from tourism, promoting the growth of related sectors such as gastronomy, artisan trade, conservation of natural areas and the preservation of cultural heritage. . This translates into a multiplier effect that benefits local communities, promotes entrepreneurship and encourages the development of infrastructure in various regions.

What are the main tourist attractions in Ecuador at the moment?

Ecuador offers its visitors unique experiences, from the sunny beaches and Afro-Ecuadorian culture on the Coast, to the Andean peaks and indigenous history in the Sierra, the rich biodiversity of the Amazon, and the unparalleled wildlife of the Galapagos. Together, these four Worlds make Ecuador a diverse and enriching tourist destination.

The Coast (The Litoral):

  1. Geography and Climate: The Ecuadorian coast extends along the Pacific Ocean, characterized by its beaches, warm and humid climate, and vast banana and cocoa plantations.
  2. Tourist Attractions: It stands out for its beautiful beaches such as Salinas, Montañita and Playas. It is popular for activities such as surfing, whale watching (in season), and exploring marine cuisine.
  3. Culture and Festivals: The region is rich in Afro-Ecuadorian culture, especially in the province of Esmeraldas, and is famous for its music and dance festivals.

The Sierra (The Andes):

  1. Geography and Climate: The Andean mountain range is characterized by its impressive mountain ranges, active and passive volcanoes, and fertile valleys. The weather is cooler and can vary considerably.
  2. Tourist Attractions: Includes historic cities such as Quito and Cuenca, indigenous markets such as Otavalo, and national parks such as Cotopaxi. It is ideal for trekking, mountaineering and cultural exploration.
  3. Heritage and History: The region has a rich Inca and colonial heritage, with many churches, plazas and historic buildings.

The East (The Amazon):

  1. Geography and Climate: The Amazon region of Ecuador is a vast area of ​​tropical rainforest, characterized by its biodiversity, rivers and warm, humid climate.
  2. Tourist Attractions: It is a paradise for nature and adventure lovers, with opportunities to observe wildlife, visit indigenous communities and carry out activities such as canoeing and hiking.
  3. Biodiversity and Conservation: Home to national parks such as Yasuní, it is a key area for biodiversity conservation and scientific research.

The Galapagos Islands:

  1. Geography and Climate: A volcanic archipelago in the Pacific Ocean, famous for its unique landscapes and endemic wildlife.
  2. Tourist Attractions: The islands are a world-class destination for wildlife observation, diving and the study of evolution. Species such as giant tortoises, marine iguanas and a great diversity of birds stand out.
  3. Conservation and Scientific Studies: The Galapagos are a living laboratory of evolution and conservation, inspiring scientists and naturalists around the world.

What new tourism segments and market niches do you plan to promote?

  • Sustainable and Responsible Tourism in Ecuador:As tourism positively changes the lives of local communities and residents, it contributes to the conservation and regeneration of their natural and cultural heritage and to the generation of an unforgettable and enriching experience for visitors.
  • Magical Towns and Corners and Best Tourism Villages of Ecuador: “Revaluation of the authentic and unique in new emerging destinations to attract national and international tourists”
  • Violet Tourism: Ecuador as a pioneer in a program that seeks to identify the needs of women in tourism in the roles of businesswomen, collaborators and responsible visitors. Product for the attention of market niches focused on women.
  • Tourism in Protected Natural Areas:Ecuador is committed to tourism that privileges regeneration and environmental conservation to attract high-value tourists and foreign investment.

What main countries do visitors to Ecuador currently come from?

Ecuador is an increasingly popular destination for travelers from around the world, especially in 2023. From January to November of this year, the main countries of origin for visitors to Ecuador were the United States, with more than 396,000 visitors, followed by Colombia with 224,000, Peru with more than 110,000 and Spain with 100,000.

This diversity in visitor origins reflects Ecuador's universal appeal, highlighting its ability to attract tourists from different regions, each seeking to experience the rich culture, biodiversity and natural beauty that the country offers.

How has the flow of tourists and connectivity between Spain and Ecuador?

In recent years, the flow of tourists and connectivity between Spain and Ecuador have experienced a notable evolution. During 2022, Ecuador received 113,546 tourists of Spanish nationality, marking an increase of 58% compared to 2021 and reaching a recovery of 95% compared to the pre-pandemic figures of 2019.

In terms of air connectivity, specifically on the Ecuador-Madrid-Ecuador route, passenger transportation in 2022 grew by 46.04% compared to the previous year. Of the 267,320 seats offered, 196,713 were requested, which represents 73.59% of the requested capacity. These data reflect a significant recovery and growing interest in travel between both countries.

What will being a FITUR 2024 Partner Country mean for the promotion of tourism in Ecuador?

To increase competitiveness, Ecuador has implemented measures such as the reduction of taxes and fees, and has signed open skies agreements with the United States, which has improved air connectivity and the recovery of international routes​​.

Ecuador's participation as a host partner in FITUR 2024 is a crucial strategic step towards achieving its ambitious tourism goals. By hosting this prestigious event, Ecuador not only seeks to reach the goal of two million international tourists by 2025, a 25% increase compared to 2019, but also generate employment opportunities, with the expectation that the tourism sector will employ 700,000 people for that date.

The visibility and networking opportunities offered by FITUR 2024 are essential to position Ecuador as a leading tourist destination worldwide, thus promoting the growth and diversification of its tourism industry.

What will Ecuador's stand be like at FITUR 2024 and what proposals and actions will its visitors be able to see?

Ecuador's stand at FITUR 2024 promises to be a historic milestone for the country. It will be distinguished for being one of the largest and most participatory, with the presence of 48 private companies exhibiting the best of Ecuador. This record number of private exhibitors reflects the dynamism and diversity of the Ecuadorian tourism offer.

In addition, the stand will have the presence of authorities from several Ecuadorian municipalities, who will have the opportunity to present and promote their unique destinations with a comprehensive vision of the multiple tourism facets of the country.

One of the highlights will be the series of food exhibitions. These will showcase the authentic flavors and rich culinary culture of Ecuador, allowing visitors to experience the diversity and richness of its cuisine through demonstrations and tastings.

The President of Ecuador, demonstrating the importance of the event, will join the Kings of Spain to officially inaugurate the stand and Ecuador's participation in the fair.

In summary, Ecuador's stand at FITUR 2024 will be a living representation of the country's cultural, natural and gastronomic wealth, providing visitors with an unforgettable experience and a deep understanding of what makes Ecuador an exceptional tourist destination.

We remember that our media, and the THEMAG MAGAZINE With a special printed edition, they will be present and will be covering all instances of these important events from the Spanish capitalMadrid. From January to 22, our directors Betina Rey and Marcelo Ballester will be providing live reports, interviews with the protagonists and details of everything that happens at FITUR 2024.

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