Travel and Tourism - Ecuador and The Galapagos - November 2011
The Galápagos Islands are a destination internationally recognised for their wildlife and links with Charles Darwin, and consequently are on the ‘must-see’ list of most tourists interested in nature. Ecuador’s mainland tourism product, however, while being strong and quite capable of competing with many of its neighbours, derives a considerable boost from its ownership of the islands. Indeed, the Charles Darwin Foundation found that only 22% of tourists stated that they would still visit Ecuador if they could not visit the Galápagos Islands.
Like most destinations that base their tourism product on a potentially fragile ecosystem, Ecuador is developing policies to ensure that it is protected under increasing demands from international (and domestic) tourism. However, as is apparent in many similar destinations, there is delicate balance between revenues and environmental regulation. Interest in South American destinations from European markets and, to a slightly lesser extent, North America, is growing sharply at present. In the first half of 2011, the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) reported that growth in tourist arrivals to South America grew by 15% – more than any other region on the globe. Ecuador can expect to benefit from this broad interest in the continent, in particular as accessibility improves through an increasing number of air routes.
This report looks at the following aspects of the travel and tourism market in Ecuador and The Galapagos:
- Tourist arrivals - overnights and expenditure
- Purpose of visit - business, leisure or VFR
- Accommodation supply - operating performance
- Tourism policy - management
- Transport - access and infrastructure
- Tourism funding - promotion and future development
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