Emerging tourism destination: Why Quito?
The future for Quito, Ecuador, is looking bright, with over $87 million in hotel investment announced over the next 10 years, being recognized as South America's leading destination by the World Trave
The future for Quito, Ecuador, is looking bright, with over $87 million in hotel investment announced over the next 10 years, being recognized as South America’s leading destination by the World Travel Awards for the second consecutive year and, as the hub for all the adventures that await across Ecuador, gaining a reputation as a top location for meetings, sporting events, and global conferences.
And then there is the chocolate. Pacari Chocolate, an Ecuadorian organic chocolate brand, based in Quito, took home 14 awards at the International Chocolate Awards, the largest number of global awards won by a chocolate producer. Pacari sources directly from small producers and is the only chocolate company in the world working with biodynamic cacao.
It is producers and experiences like Pacari (which offers tastings and tours) which are growing Quito’s tourism industry. And Quito is taking its story around the world. At this year’s World Travel Mart in London, Quito highlighted its growing tourism industry to travel trade and media. In 2014, over 50 per cent of travelers to Ecuador (1 million from January – September) visited Quito, further positioning it as a hub for the Galapagos, Amazon and Andes. Tourism Quito predicts that at year-end, over 680,000 tourists will have visited, representing a 10 per cent growth rate.
Committed to bringing the world to its city, Quito hosted the tourism industry for the 21st annual World Travel Awards (the “Oscars” of the travel industry) in August, and celebrated its win alongside its new international airport, Mariscal Sucre International Airport, which was chosen as the leading airport in South America.
When the city was named one of the 14 official finalists (from an original 1,200 cities nominated) in the New 7 Wonders Global Contest, Tourism Quito launched a country wide promotional tour, capturing the pride that all Ecuadorians have for their capital city.
Keen to prove its ability to host larger Meetings, incentives, conferences and events (MICE), in July Quito successfully hosted the Second Continental Congress on Heritage Kitchens. Held every two years with the mission to strengthen the knowledge and commitment to the preservation of regional cuisines around the world, The Continental Congress of Heritage Kitchens brought together 160 historians, anthropologists, chefs and culinary researchers from 14 countries. The congress included lectures, master classes, visits to Quito’s famous local markets and regional cooking competitions.
With an ongoing mission to attract tourism investment, in September Quito also hosted the seventh annual South American Hotel & Tourism Conference (SAHIC), which brought together more than 300 industry executives hotel in Latin America, North America and Europe. The mayor of Quito used this opportunity to reinforce his role in promoting tourism and continuing to develop the capital city, ensuring it is a rich and dynamic gateway to the rest of Ecuador. To achieve this, foreign investment is essential.
Positioning itself as an exceptional hub for sports event, Quito also hosted the Tour de las Américas Golf Tournament and the Adventure World Championship 2014. One hundred and fifty professional golfers from all over the world attended the Latin American edition of the PGA Tour. In November, Quito launched the Huairasinchi Explorer Adventure Racing World Championship, sponsored by Tourism Quito.
This international race attracted over 280 athletes, 70 elite teams from 20 nations, who participated in this extreme competition which covered over 700 kilometers.
In 2015 Quito will host a “250” open tournament for the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) — The international ATP Circuit is composed with 5 types of tournaments 250, 500, 1000, Masters and 4 big opens depending on the amount of prize money to be distributed. On 2015 Quito will take over from Viña del Mar (Chile), a destination which has organized this event for 21 years, as the host city for this important tennis tournament.
Quito Turismo is also working closely with its partners to improve its visitor experience. The Mariscal Sucre International Airport, for example, is investing heavily in improving the quality of service for airline passengers, with projects such as the Quito Airport Center and its offices and shops, as well as the announcement of a new five-star Wyndham Hotel, which will open in 2016. This is part of Wyndham larger strategy to establish a chain of eight hotels throughout Ecuador in the next ten years. Holiday Inn, Accor, Hilton have also all announced hotel projects for Quito.