Ecuador is experiencing record-breaking
tourism growth, according to suppliers and tourism officials
gathered at Meet Ecuador, a traveling trade show that recently
visited several cities in the U.S. and Canada.
"Our growth between
2005 and 2006 was 21% to 22%, and for 2007 we expect another 20%,"
said Mariano Proano, general manager of Travel Opportunities South
America. "All the flights are full.
"The U.S. is the
fastest-growing [market] for Ecuador," he added. "We're not doing
as much as Peru, but we're growing."
Monica Irauzqui of
Kontiki Tours & Travel cited a 20% growth in bookings to
Ecuador within the past year. "Especially with the Galapagos," she
said, "because there are so many more [cruises]." (For more on the Galapagos Islands, see
"On the origin of tourists: Humans, ecology clash on
international media relations officer for the Quito Metropolitan
Tourism Corp., reported an estimated 7% increase in visitor
arrivals to Ecuador's capital city so far this year. He said the
primary origin markets are the U.S., Spain, the U.K. and
Hamilton said one
of the trends driving tourism to the capital is continuing
improvement in the city center, which is a UNESCO World Heritage
Site dotted with landmark churches, government buildings and
"There is a
movement back to the old town," he said. "Five years ago, people
didn't want to stay there."
With hotels opening
in historical buildings as well as more outdoor cafes and a theater
that opened last year, interest is increasing.
Since 2005, Quito has also been home to the
Teleferiqo, an aerial tramway that whisks visitors some 13,400 feet
up to Cruz Loma, a hill on the east side of the volcano
Quito is making
plans to open a new international airport by 2011. The $600 million
project, located outside the city limits, will be much larger than
the existing Mariscal Sucre Airport and won't have the constraints
presented by Sucre's high altitude, allowing for nonstop flights
from more far-flung destinations, aboard larger
In other news from
Kleintours this year introduced Ethnic Express, a train that offers
excursions in the northern Andes through the province of Imbabura,
from Ibarra to San Lorenzo. Between the stations in Ibarra and
Salinas, riders descend from 7,216 feet to 4,920 feet in about two
The new train will
accommodate 60 passengers and will go into service in September. It
will offer views of lakes Cuicocha, Yaguarcocha and San Pablo.
Kleintours described the program as a community-based tourism
project, noting the economic and cultural benefits that come from
travelers' interactions with some of the residents of the region.
Hilton Colon Quito Hotel is wrapping up renovations resulting in
deluxe room and luxury suite categories for 2008. Visit www.quito.hilton.com.
Plaza Grande Hotel, a 15-room boutique property, opened in January
in a 16th century building that in earlier decades had been the
Hotel Majestic. The new property has three restaurants and meeting
space. Rack rates start at $500. Visit www.plazagrandequito.com.
other small hotels have recently opened. The Hotel el Relicario del
Carmen, an 18-room property in an 18th century mansion, charges $70
to $90 per room, including breakfast. The Villa Colonna, a
bed-and-breakfast with five suites, charges $150 per night through
the end of 2007 and $200 in 2008. Visit www.hotelrelicariodelcarmen.com or www.villacolonna.ec.
Metropolitan Touring purchased a 19th century home on Plaza San
Francisco in downtown Quito and will open it as a 35-room hotel by
the end of 2009. In March, the company will launch a 40-passenger
yacht, La Pinta, which will offer a seven-night Galapagos
itinerary. Visit www.metropolitan-touring.com.
" In 2008,
Quito will celebrate 30 years as the first World Heritage city, and
in 2009 the city will mark the 200th anniversary of the "first cry
of liberty" in the war of independence against Spain. Numerous
commemorative events are in the works.
Swissotel Quito will complete a renovation of its executive floor
at the end of this year. The property also has a new
restaurant/bar, Time Out, and has renovated its Tanoshi and Les
Alpes restaurants. Visit www.swissotel.com.
Travel Systems is offering new, customized packages this year,
including weddings on the beach on the Galapagos Islands. Visit www.ptsincorporated.com.
Tours & Travel is offering agents a booking bonus of $50 per
person, with no end date announced. Ecuador Highlights, a new
Kontiki tour, includes colonial Quito and Cuenca, the highlands of
Ecuador, the Chiva train, the Galapagos Islands and the Amazon rain
forest. Visit www.kontiki.org.
information about Quito, visit the Quito Metropolitan Tourism Corp.
at www.quito.com.ec. For more information about the next
Meet Ecuador trade show, visit www.meetecuadorseminars.com.
contact reporter Mark Chesnut, send e-mail [email protected].