It highlights the contribution of tourism to Ecuador's economy and underlines the tourism objectives for 2025 of reaching two million international tourists and employing 700,000 people
Olsen gives an exclusive preview of what to expect on the Ecuador stand at FITUR 2024, with the presence of 48 private companies and food demos and tasting events.
On the occasion of FITUR 2024, the International Tourism Trade Fair organised by IFEMA MADRID from 24 to 28 January and whose 44th edition has Ecuador as a Partner Country, its Minister of Tourism Niels Olsen highlights in an interview the fundamental contribution of tourism to Ecuador's economy, being the third most important non-oil industry in terms of revenue generation. Thus, in the first half of 2023, the tourism sector generated close to USD 1 billion in foreign exchange, marking a growth of 25.7% compared to 2022, and a turnover of tourism activities in excess of USD 4.2 billion from January to September. UNWTO forecasted that Ecuador will recover its 2019 international tourist numbers in 2023, rather than 2024, thanks to its competitiveness and promotional activities.
Ecuador, FITUR 2024 Partner Country with a stand focused on gastronomy
In this context of competitiveness and promotion, Ecuador is a Partner Country of FITUR 2024 and, in the words of its Minister of Tourism, "it represents a crucial strategic step towards achieving its ambitious tourism objectives. By hosting this prestigious event, Ecuador not only seeks to achieve its goal of two million international tourists by 2025, an increase of 25% compared to 2019, but also to generate employment opportunities with the expectation that the tourism sector will employ 700,000 people by that date".
In his interview for FITUR, Niels Olsen said that "the stand at FITUR will be a historic milestone for the country and, moreover, one of the largest and most participative at the fair, with the presence of 48 private companies, reflecting the dynamism and diversity of the country's tourism offer, and with authorities from various municipalities promoting their destinations and offering a comprehensive vision of Ecuador’s many facets of tourism".
Inviting visitors to visit the stand in Hall 3, Olsen highlighted the food demos and tasting events that will bring professionals and visitors closer to the richness of Ecuador.
Ecuador, at the forefront of Sustainable and Violet Tourism
In his commitment to the diversification of Ecuador's tourism sector, the Minister of Tourism stressed the importance of promoting sustainable and responsible tourism for its "positive impact on the lives of local communities and residents and its contribution to the conservation and regeneration of their natural and cultural heritage while creating unforgettable and enriching experiences for visitors".
"Ecuador is pioneering a programme that seeks to identify the needs of women in tourism in their role as entrepreneurs, collaborators and visitors. Violet Tourism caters to a niche market focused on women," said Niels Olsen, Ecuador's Minister of Tourism. "We also seek to revalue authenticity in new, emerging destinations to attract national and international tourists through Pueblos y Rincones Mágicos (the Magical Towns Programme) and Best Tourism Villages of Ecuador".
Niels Olsen, in his interview for FITUR, highlighted the diversity of Ecuador's tourism offer. "It is a country that offers unique experiences, from the beaches and Afro-Ecuadorian culture of the coast, to the Andean peaks and indigenous history in the highlands, the rich biodiversity of the Amazon or the unique wildlife of the Galapagos.
Ecuador's tourism sector, a universal attraction and engine of economic growth
The country is strongly committed to boosting the growth of the tourism sector and, in order to increase its competitiveness, it has implemented measures such as tax and tariff reductions and the signing of Open Skies agreements with the United States, which has improved its air connectivity and the recovery of its international routes. As a result, from January to November 2023, Ecuador's main source market was the USA, with more than 396,000 visitors, followed by Colombia, with 224,000, and Peru, with more than 110,000.
In fourth place is Spain, which has reached 100,000 in this period. "In recent years, the flow of tourists and connectivity between Spain and Ecuador has undergone a remarkable evolution," Olsen explains. "In 2022 it received 58% more Spanish visitors compared to 2021, which was a 95% recovery from pre-pandemic figures. In terms of air connectivity, the Ecuador-Madrid-Ecuador route in 2022 had 46.04% more passengers than in 2021 with a demand for 73.59% of the seats offered," he continues.
Finally, Olsen highlighted the important role of tourism for the national economy, and he placed it as one of the most important sectors for the generation of employment, as it supports more than half a million families throughout the country. Moreover, not only does it generate direct employment, but at least 52 other activities benefit from this industry, such as gastronomy, the artisan craft trade, the conservation of natural areas or the preservation of cultural heritage. "This translates into a multiplier effect that benefits local communities, promotes entrepreneurship and fosters the development of infrastructures in various regions," concluded the Ecuadorian Minister of Tourism.