Interview | Jorge Yunda - Mayor of Quito, Ecuador

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

Interview
Jorge Yunda
Mayor of Quito, Ecuador


1- Which are the pillars on which you base your objectives for the city?
We work for a transparent administration for quiteños that restores self-confidence and trust in its authorities. We focus on the five important points that we are going to support: transparency, safety, mobility, environment and tourism. 

2- How many tourists arrive to Quito every year? What evolution and growth have you observed in the years?
- In 2019, we plan to exceed 700,000 international tourists visiting Quito. Something that has not happened since 2015, after the decrease in arrivals to the country registered in 2016.

- We expect a cumulative growth (from 2016 to 2019) of 12%.

- For 2019, we expect the arrival of 703,000 tourists, which represents a 1.5% growth, compared to last year, which we received approximately 692,500 visitors.

3- Which are the segments with the best opportunities for the development of tourism in the city? How is tourism development being promoted?
- Quito is the capital of the center of the world, which means that an impressive cultural, natural and gastronomic wealth converges here, offering complete travel experiences. All this segmented by priority markets.

- We have also identified that Quito has a clear opportunity to promote itself in the segment of Business Tourism. We have successfully hosted important conferences, such as HABITAT III, proving the city's capacity to host major events.

  • We have an attractive network of convention centers, including contemporary and heritage venues. We also have first class luxury hotels with settings for conferences and meetings.

4- What are the main transformations that the city has experienced in recent years?
Tourism-wise:

- We are going through a decade that is changing the history of tourism in Quito, mainly in terms of connectivity and mobility.

- In 2013, the Mariscal Sucre airport moved from the north of the city to the suburbs. Our airport is today a modern and safe building with expansion capacity; and in the old airport a new park was created that is now managed by the City.

- Also, the fast route to the Mitad del Mundo which allows two things:

  • First, the touristic development of this area of the city.

  • Second, better access to the northwest of Quito, one of the most megadiverse places on the planet.

- By 2020, the Quito Metro will begin operations, which will change the way of doing tourism and moving around the city. For example, a visitor staying north of the city can be in the Historic Center in 25 minutes.

  • This also strengthens us as a destination for Business Tourism. The New Convention Center is just a short distance from the El Labrador terminal, and along its route, it will connect at least 5 venues designed for events and meetings, thus creating a network of convention centers, at a 15-minute maximum distance.

 5- What is the role of tourism within national and local economic development?
It is a priority axis of development for the city. We think of tourism as one of the friendliest and most efficient ways that lead to the economic development of the city, as long as it is managed in a sustainable way.

- Currently, according to Quito Turismo calculations, tourism activities represent 4.04% of the city's GDP.

- Nationally, tourism is the third source of non-oil revenues, following bananas and shrimp.

6- Is there currently any regulation or project to regulate the activity of platforms such as Airbnb in the city?
It is the responsibility of the Ministry of Tourism to issue norms that regulate facilities that provide accommodation services as "non-hotels". A few days ago, this institution announced that it will promulgate a regulation in this field.

7- What is the situation of hotel rooms in the city? What do you consider to be the challenges to achieve greater hotel development?
- 16% (721) of all tourist facilities (4,381) in Quito are hotels.

- Accommodation capacity of the city is 14,393 rooms and 30,093 beds, including all categories and types of lodging.

- The two highest categories (4 and 5 stars) total 3,732 rooms and 7,470 beds.

- For this specific sector, we have several challenges:

-  Increase the number of days spent in the city, avoiding seasonality.

- Reinforce -together with the industry- promotion of the unique features of the accommodations located in heritage buildings, which have an architectural and historical value.

- Simplify the procedures is a challenge for all economic sectors.

- the promotion of new establishments in developing areas of the city that are a priority such as: Corredor Centro del Mundo and the Centralidad Bicentenario. 

8- In your opinion, how does SAHIC contribute to the development of the hotel industry? What are your expectations for the next edition that will be taking place in your country?
- Hosting SAHIC for the second time reaffirms Quito as a destination for business and congresses, which is also part of our positioning strategy.

- SAHIC, being a specialized meeting space, also stands as an opportunity for the whole industry to profit from the trends in the sector, at the same time that policies from the civil service can be adjusted to attract investment.

9- Which social network do you use most often and why?
I'm happy with my Twitter account. I don't use Facebook, Instagram or WhatsApp. I feel that this social network is very practical to keep me informed with quick texts, photos and videos. Plus, I am the one who generates the content and constantly monitors my account to receive complaints and suggestions from citizens. 

10- When you travel for pleasure, where do you choose to stay: hotel or Airbnb?
One of my biggest hobbies is flying, I was even part of a pilot school more than a decade ago. Sailing in the skies is one of my favorite activities, I have no preference for any airline. When it comes to lodging, I consider the service and infrastructure offered by hotels to be a priority, and I generally choose to use digital platforms to select this service. 

Profile:

Contact Jorge Yunda: @LoroHomero

Turistic affairs:

Visit: www.quito.com.ec

Facebook: @VisitQuito

Twitter: @VisitQuito

Instagram: Visit Quito 

Inestment and development affairs:

Twitter: @desarrolloquito

Facebook: Secretaría de Desarrollo Productivo y Competitividad Quito

Camila Lavori