Ecuador’s capital, Quito, was named “South America’s Leading Destination” for the second year in a row at the 21st regional World Travel Awards gala, considered by the Wall Street Journal as the Oscars of the tourism industry.
Ecuador won a total of 14 awards, including the “South America’s Leading Green Destination” and “South America’s Leading Tourist Board” categories.
The awards aim to recognize excellence across all sectors of the tourism industry. Over 300 tourism industry representatives from around the Americas attended the gala at the Centro Cultural Itchimbía in Quito, Ecuador.
Tourism: Employment growth in equity
Tourism in Ecuador ranks as the fourth largest source of non-oil revenues, said Ecuador’s Minister of Tourism Sandra Naranjo. Tourism is one of the sectors that the government of Rafael Correa aims to expand and currently represents 5.3% of the country’s GDP. It has grown 14% in the last six months, three times more than the global average. Minister Naranjo aims to increase tourism by 10% by the end of the year.
Additionally, the Minister points out that women currently account for 50% of the tourism workforce in the country. The country’s growing tourism industry can transform the lives of its citizens and improve their living conditions. Ecuador recently launched the tourism promotion campaign “All You Need is Ecuador”, which has impacted 450 million people and positioned the country as a top tourism destination in the minds of travelers around the world.
Ecuador, a country for business
Investments in Ecuador’s tourism sector have doubled since 2005, receiving approximately $800 million in investments. Minister Naranjo attributes this increase to the country’s holistic strategy that is based on five key pillars: safety, quality, products and destinations, connectivity, and promotion. Ecuador has formed alliances with major national companies such as the Nobis Group, as well as international companies that include Best Western and Swissotel. Minister Naranjo added that there are major hotel investments. For example, the Ibis chain will build ten new hotels. There are also many investors interested in unique destinations like the Galapagos Islands.
The Secretary of State congratulated the WTA for its 21st anniversary. Ecuador also celebrated its 205th year of independence, while the Ministry of Tourism also proudly celebrated 22 years in operation.
Minister Naranjo concluded her remarks by reminding WTA audience members that “when you want to visit South America, All You Need is Ecuador.”
Additional awards in the South America category are:
South America’s Leading Airport 2014: Mariscal Sucre International Airport
South America’s Leading Conference Hotel 2014: Swissotel Quito
South America’s Leading Green Hotel 2014: Finch Bay Eco Hotel
South America’s Leading Luxury Train 2014: Tren Crucero
South America’s Leading Resort 2014: Arashá Tropical Forest Resort Spa
Ecuador’s Leading Boutique Hotel: Hotel Plaza Grande
Ecuador’s Leading Business Hotel: Swissotel Quito
Ecuador’s Leading Green Hotel: Mashpi Lodge
Ecuador’s Leading Hotel: JW Marriott Hotel Quito
Ecuador’s Leading Resort: Arashá Tropical Forest Resort & Spa
Ecuador’s Leading Spa Resort: Termas de Papallacta
Following this great event in Quito, Ecuador will continue to build and expand its booming tourism industry.