LATAM e-News – July 2018
Arturo´s Letter

Arturo García Rosa
President & Founder, SAHIC

Ecuador: the strong and sustained growth of tourism calls to point at investment opportunities.

The first quarter of 2018 saw a 47 % increase in the number of tourist arrivals in Ecuador, an impressive figure.

There were 567,893 arrivals in the January-March quarter, of which 191,532 took place in March, which recorded an interannual increase of 62.9% over the same month in 2017.

For those who may think it is an isolated event, it is good to point out that Ecuador closed the year 2017 with the arrival of 1,617,914 international visitors, this is a 14% increase compared to 2016. Meanwhile, foreign exchange income from receptive tourism reached US$ 1.66 billion, which represented an increase of 14.8% over the previous year, showing a slight inclination towards a better quality of expenditure.

Let us bear in mind that the average world growth rate is around 4% and that, in the region, only Colombia (18% growth compared to 2016) and Chile (15%) have reached a double-digit figure. In the case of Chile, the question remains of how it will continue to hold up after the crisis that broke out in Argentina, whose inhabitants represent 50% of its demand.

Ecuador and Colombia are apparently the two destinations that seem to continue to grow significantly. Colombia has long since ceased to be a well-kept secret, but Ecuador has not. We will deal with Colombia in the special issue that we are preparing for the next SAHIC meeting in Medellín on 24 and 25 September, while it is good to point out that the government of President Lenin Moreno is fully determined to continue working on everything that will ensure a sustained growth in tourism, currently the third largest source of non-oil income in Ecuador, after shrimp and bananas, traditional products of the country.

The investment made in the plans that the Ministry of Tourism is carrying out, both to attract new offers and to promote investments, as well as the effort to increase the number of flights to the country, is beginning to bear its first fruits.

By the end of 2017 the government of Ecuador has made the Open Skies Declaration, which will undoubtedly be an important incentive for the development of tourism in the country, while further facilitating air communication with major destinations. These regulations apply to the international airports of Guayaquil, Quito, Manta and Lacatunga.

On the other hand, the US State Department has considered Ecuador to be a safe destination for its citizens, with a category 1 warning meaning “exercising normal precautions”, which is undoubtedly the case.

Ecuador, “the country of the four worlds” – the Amazonia, the Andean region, the Pacific coast and the famous Galapagos archipelago (World Natural Heritage Site) – is set to follow a path of growth that we believe will continue in the coming years.

It is undoubtedly time to have your eye on investment opportunities in the sector in Ecuador.