The New York Times gives several tips on how to explore Ecuador
Despite the terrible consequences of the April earthquake that caused the death of over 410 people, Ecuador is not only picking itself up itself and dusting off the ashes with remarkable resilience, but most of its unaffected areas remain also its most attractive and keep drawing increasing numbers of tourism. Read on to find out why and how.
Last 16th April 2016 Ecuador shook with the fearsome trembling of a mighty earthquake, which reached the maximum intensity score on the Mercalli scale and caused major human losses as well as terrible economic, social and natural devastation. The damages were nothing short of enormous and in its wake the affected part of the country was torn apart.
According to a New York Times report, travel specialists coincide that the Ecuador earthquake is not likely to affect international tourism, given that the region most affected by the earthquake sits in the country’s north-western coast, an area attracting mainly domestic tourism with its long line of (now wrecked) beachfront resorts. These were popular with locals, but foreign tourists seldom ventured in this part of Ecuador.
As a result, Ecuador expert, Beth Jenkins who works at McCabe World Travel in Washington revealed that her customers have indeed been enquiring about the earthquake but haven been put off by it nor have they lost their interest in visiting the South American nation. In his own words, he adds:
“My itineraries to Ecuador never included the north coast where the earthquake happened, and also, none of the country’s top attractions were damaged because of it.”
In line with this thought, yet another Ecuador expert, this time for travel consulting firm Valerie Wilson Travel, said that not one of her clients had called in to cancel their travel plans to Ecuador or postpone them.
Ginny Caragol, proceeded to explain why travellers continued to bet on this destination:
“The earthquake was devastating, but it happened in a pocket of the country where not many international travellers go.”
Even when normally, natural disasters of these scale would leave the country’s tourism industry in shambles (as it happened with 2014 Hurricane Odile in Mexico’s Cabo San Lucas and Asia’s 2004 tsunami), it doesn’t always have to be that way. Certainly, not in the case of Ecuador now, where the damaged area isn’t where most international visitors go, as travel industry analyst Henry H. Harteveldt rightly points out:
With tourism now accounting for Ecuador’s fourth main source of income, and more travellers eager to explore beyond the Galapagos Island (by far, Ecuador’s main tourism destination) and delving into the country’s culture with increasing visits to its capital, the number of foreign visitors are steadily growing - and these figures are becoming increasingly significant to the local economy.
Triumphant in more ways than meets the eye, Ecuador was recently declared South America’s greenest destination, having also won eight World Travel Awards after being nominated in no less than 22 categories and its capital, Quito, was also named South America’s leading destination.
No wonder then, that more and more travellers are being seduced by it. Last year alone a total of 1.5 million foreign visitors arrived to Ecuador, a significant growth in numbers when compared to previous figures from less than a decade ago. In 2007 only 650,000 international arrivals had been recorded. So the increase in popularity and steady pace of growth is plain to see.
While some may argue Ecuador still remains an off-the-beaten-path destination (which certainly accounts as one of its major draws!) this is by no means a place to be overlooked, as one of our bloggers recently found when she ventured into a month-long-journey across Ecuador.
Instead of being put off by it, the decision to visit in larger numbers is the best way to help recover Ecuador’s economy. Quito Tourism’s general manager encourages visitors to contribute to such recovery by welcoming them to Ecuador with an open-arms invititation:
“The best way to help Ecuador after the earthquake is to visit Ecuador.”
To this, Mr Harteveltd added:
“Tourism is a big help in recovering from a natural disaster because it brings in money to the economy, and, if you want to be more proactive, you can join the efforts of a non-profit that’s hands-on in helping with the recovery and make your trip a volunteering vacation.”
Whichever of these choices you opt for, Ecuador will no doubtless benefit from your visit and you will be rewarded with incredible holiday memories to treasure for life and incredible natural encounters that no other place in the world can boast of.
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