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Raúl Garcí­a

President, Captur

Our challenge is to innovate. This means that we need to be more educated about the industry. We have to apply new technologies to business and generate innovative products. Currently, one of our big breakthroughs is sustainable tourism. Ecuador has more than 150 certified operations in the area. Most are in the Galápagos, the Amazon region, near the coast, and in the Andes. It is one of our main strengths. Captur has its own training department, which prepares people for the industry. We prepare around 2,000 people a year. Universities are a problem, as they do not pay attention to what is required by the industry. The professionals that come out of universities lack knowledge in marketing and other areas. We have to work hard to compete with other top destinations in the region, such as Peru and Colombia. Those countries are also working hard to promote themselves. It is necessary to take demand into consideration and have a good strategy. We will start by training people, improving the business, and innovating. This is our challenge.

Joseph Garzozi

Director of Tourism, International Relations, and Competitiveness, Municipality of Guayaquil

Guayaquil is one of the most affordable cities in Latin America in terms of accommodation. The expansion of Guayaquil’s offers began with the construction of new hotels and the response to the demand that the city would be hosting congresses and conventions. Three-star hotels are proliferating throughout city because it’s a segment that meets the demand we see from neighboring countries. At the same time, there is no need to worry about the weather, because the temperatures are mild all year round, which facilitates the trip. With the implementation of a large congress center, Guayaquil is ready to host international events, and this is the most profitable kind of tourism for the city. Thus, the city has seen increased activity in construction, job creation, and economic success. The tourism industry has experienced sustained growth every year. We are permanently working on expanding the North American market. Our strategy is also focused on tourism from neighboring countries, such as Colombia, Peru, and South America in general.

Louis Hanna

President, Louis Hanna

Ecuador has made a clear commitment to develop ethical tourism. Such a move does not jeopardize our competitive position compared to our regional neighbors. In addition, we have a competitive currency and better prices than our main competitors. However, there are some tax issues related to visitors and their activities in the country that put us at a disadvantage against our main competitors. I believe that the country should implement measures to provide tax rebates for tourist purchases in Ecuador, something Colombia and Peru already do. Such a move would make the market more dynamic. Visitors come mostly from the US and neighboring countries like Colombia and Peru. Nevertheless, we have a large number of visitors from Europe, especially from Germany, France, Italy, and the UK. In the last few years, we are seeing a considerable increase in the number of Argentinians and Chinese tourists, and we believe that the latter will become a very important market for us in the near future.

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