Interview | Rosi Prado de Holguín - Minister of Tourism, Ecuador

SAHIC e-News Latin America - 2019
Special Edition: Ecuador

Interview
Rosi Prado de Holguín
Minister of Tourism, Ecuador


1- How would you describe the objectives of the “Live Ecuador” campaign?
The Vive Ecuador – Credits of the Public Banking campaign is aimed at reviving tourism offer and demand. This government initiative seeks the placement of unsecured credits for tourist trips in Ecuador (increased internal mobility and currency circulation), as well as the placement of productive credits to finance or repower tourism projects (SMEs and MSMEs).

The proposal arises because tourism is considered an important productive sector within the Ecuadorian economy, but not only as a service sector. The credits can be obtained at lower interests, so, for example, with Ban Ecuador, we go from a rate of 15% (services sector) to 11% (productive sector).

The campaign covers three main axes: inclusion, sustainability and accessibility and its application will allow it to fulfill six objectives: Promote the mobilization of national tourists; Generate new projects and ventures; Improve the infrastructure and quality of existing tourism businesses; Generate employment, economic and urban revival of the country; Implement technical assistance lines for entrepreneurs or entrepreneurs that require access to financing lines for the productive sector; Disseminate and communicate the financial and non-financial products offered by public banks for the country's productive tourism generation, as well as the stimulation of local tourism.

It is important to mention that in Ecuador in 2018, domestic tourism mobilized more than 14 million people.

2- Which segments represent today the best opportunities for the development of industry and tourism?
According to the 2017 International Tourism Profiles survey of the Ministry of Tourism, the travel reason for people who arrived in the country in that year is concentrated in three segments: Holidays, with 60%; Business and / or professional reasons, 21%; Visit to family or friends, 19%. 

Likewise, the activities of greatest interest to foreigners are associated with Cultural Tourism, 59%; Ecotourism, 21%; Sun and Beach Tourism, 16%; and, Sports and Adventure Tourism, 4%.

It means, Ecuador is no stranger to the global trend in which visitors prioritize activities that generate experiences and active involvement with the social dynamics of local populations. In addition, the increase in the use of social networks as a mechanism of commercialization and direct sale of new business models, allow reaching tourists directly and attracting them in a better way to live unique and unrepeatable experiences, based on the strengths of the products and services that Ecuador offers.

3- Which destinations you want to promote for future development?
According to the demand of the tourist markets to Ecuador, our offer is defined in at least three segments: culture, nature and adventure.

Culture, with our World Heritage cities such as Quito and Cuenca; ancestral manifestations from 17 living nationalities, with their own customs and traditions. Also, our world famous handcraft toquilla straw hat, declared in 2012 Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. 

Nature, represented by the Galapagos Islands, Natural Heritage of Humanity, Sangay National Park in the Ecuadorian Amazon; more than 54 Parks and Nature Reserves; Mindo, at northwest of Pichincha; Cajas National Park, which thanks to its characteristics is now considered a star destination product; and recently, the province of Imbabura, which in April of this year was declared a World Geopark, becoming the first in Ecuador. This offer is complemented by the visit and climb to volcanoes such as the Cayambe, Cotopaxi, Ilinizas, Chimborazo, Altar, Antisana and a great infinity of lagoons.

The adventure in Ecuador is lived in Baños de Agua Santa, gateway to the Amazon, which offers a wide range of hot springs, waterfalls, trails, adventure sports. Another reference for adventure sports is on the beaches like Montañita, for surfing. Galapagos for diving and snorkeling. And to enjoy the warm waters of the Ecuadorian Coast are the beaches of Salinas, Manta, Puerto López, Los Frailes, Esmeraldas, among others. 

The Cruise Train complements the adventure offer, because it offers landscapes and experiences along 400 kilometers between the Andes and Costa worlds; highlighting the section called "Devil's Nose", for its majestic and peculiar zigzag shape. An engineering work considered unique in the world,

The main destinations that the Ministry of Tourism wants to promote can be visualized in the following table:

cuadro-entrevista-rosi-eng.png

4- What percentage represents the travel and tourism sector within the economy of Ecuador? What is the estimated expenditure of tourists in the country
Tourism in the economy: The tourism sector represents 2.7% of Ecuadorian GDP; It is also the third income generator (non-oil) for Ecuador, after the Shrimp and Banana. The average expenditure of international tourists in 2018 was USD 1,300 per person.

Source: Banco Central del Ecuador | Made by: Ministerio de Turismo

Source: Banco Central del Ecuador | Made by: Ministerio de Turismo

5- What are the initiatives promoted by the Ministry to encourage more air connectivity?
The Ministry of Tourism participates in events specialized in air and maritime connectivity worldwide. These events are attended by representatives of the main international airlines and cruises, as well as, the main tourism authorities of the various countries.

The main objectives pursued with the participation in these events are among others: Strengthen commercial relations with the main actors of the aeronautical / port industry at regional and global level; spread the benefits and facilities that Ecuador offers for the opening and increase of routes and frequencies.

During 2018, the Ministry of Tourism participated in the event specialized in air connectivity, International Routes America, which took place in the city of Quito from February 13 to 15.

This year she will participate in World Routes from September 21 to 24, 2019 in Australia. 

Cooperation agreements with international airlines:

This secretariat of State, in order to increase new routes or frequencies existing internationally, established a strategic alliance –Joint Venture– with airlines of interest to the country, which benefits the parties equally, through commercial positioning, promotion, advertising and coverage of air routes in markets and destinations of interest to Ecuador, to strengthen the image of Ecuador internationally and increase the passengers flows. 

The development of cooperative promotional actions are the result of joining efforts that will allow; Communicate and inform the consumer in general about the country's tourism offer, direct tourism flows to new destinations, reduce seasonality, improve occupancy in low seasons and, above all, reduce the costs associated with the promotion individually. 

In 2018, cooperated agreements were signed with the following airlines: KLM, Avianca, Gol and LATAM. For this year it is planned to subscribe with Air France, Iberia, Inter Jet.

6- Which is the tourist´s profile that visits Ecuador?
On average the foreign tourist is 30 years old, male, single and has superior education. The main reason for travel is recreation or leisure vacation and prefers cultural tourism followed by ecotourism. The foreign tourist prefers to stay in 4 and 5 stars hotels, the average tourism expense is USD1.300 and the average business expense is USD1.060, per person.

The main countries of origin are:

cuadro-rosi-3-eng.png

7- Which conditions and facilities are promoted from the government in favor of investments in hotel development?
The Ecuadorian State, through Executive Decree 252 of December 22th 2017, declared the attraction and promotion of investments as a State policy. Within Ecuadorian legislation establishes a series of incentives and benefits that encourage new tourism investments in the country.

Among the main incentives are: 8 to 20 years of income tax exemption for new investment projects; 20 years of income tax exemption  for tourism projects, micro, medium-sized community and / or associative tourism companies; 10% reduction of the Income Tax in the reinvestment of profits in the acquisition of new productive assets; Double tax deduction of depreciation costs of productive fixed assets for 5 years (includes Quito or Guayaquil); Exemption from the tax on the exit of foreign currency (ISD), for the payment of dividends or profits abroad, for payment of capital and interest on international loans and for importation of capital goods; Exemption of tariffs for goods from the tourism industry to be imported; Payment facilities for foreign trade tariffs; Additional deduction of 100% of the costs and expenses incurred in the promotion and advertising of incoming tourism; Special Economic Development Zone (ZEDE) for tourism. Exemption from the payment of tariffs and VAT on foreign goods entering these areas; Investment Contracts: it is an agreement to protect new productive investments, available for investments over USD 1 million dollars. It offers stability over tax incentives up to 15 years and is renewable once (maximum validity of 30 years) and Legal Security;

8- Considering the growth that has been observed in the sector, what do you think will be the estimated investment in the countries tourism and hotel industry?
The actions carried out by the Government as Fiscal policy and Promotion of Ecuador as an investment destination, since the application of the Organic Law for Productive Development, Attraction of Investments, Employment Generation and Stability and Fiscal Balance have had concrete and positive results. It can be evidenced, for example, in 2018 the signature of various investment contracts in the tourism sector for USD 28.19 million and so far in 2019 the investment contracts have been signed for USD 105.5 million. It is expected to close the year with an additional USD 31 million, with a total of USD. 136.5 million for this year.

We also have an investment opportunities portfolio with 151 properties, including land and buildings that are seeking financing, direct sales or joint ventures. These properties are valued in USD. 726 million.

9- Why have you decided to host SAHIC 2019? How do you think SAHIC contributes to the development of hotel investments in the country?
Participation in specialized international investment events represents the most profitable channel to access international investors. These events offer the Ministry of Tourism a short-term scenario with a large concentration of network activities and specialized meetings, designed to accelerate relationships with the target group that we want to reach. Also, this event gives the Ministry the opportunity to be informed regarding investment attraction strategies that other countries are implementing in tourism and hotel sector.

SAHIC -, is the annual event of international scope aimed to promote Hotel business, Tourism and related Real Estate Projects in the region, it is also a tool that the industry has incorporated as a facilitating element and enriching it with the contribution of those who participated in the conferences throughout these 11 years. This has allowed us to mark a before and after regarding the approach between the different actors that manage the development of hotel and tourism projects in Latin America.

The Ministry of Tourism together with Quito Turismo from Quito´s Municipality have decided to join efforts to promote Quito and Ecuador as a worldwide tourist investment destination.

10- What social network do you use most often and why?
The Ministry of Tourism manages promotional accounts such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. Through them, the Ministry keeps permanent contact with citizens and travelers. We know that direct communication allows us to know often questions and  understand the requirements. Also we can tell the audience the activities carried out by the National Government and this Ministry.

Profile:

To contact Rosi Prado de Holguín:

Telephone: +593 3999333 ext 1403

Email: maria.tipan@turismo.gob.ec

Facebook: @RosiPradoHolguin

Instagram: @RosiPradode

Twitter: @PradoHolguin

To know more about Ecuador, visit: ecuador.travel

Camila Lavori