TORONTO — Ecuador is stepping up its marketing efforts significantly in Canada this year with increased advertising, consumer awareness campaigns and more resources and activities directed towards the travel trade.
Ecuador officials from the Ministry of Tourism as well as 22 Ecuador tourism suppliers were conducting presentations and roundtable briefings for agents in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal.
Canada is one of four target markets (United States, Germany and the United Kingdom are the others), according to Maria Cristina Rivadeneira, the undersecretary of markets for Ecuador’s Ministry of Tourism.
“Canada is a priority market as we know Canadians really spend a lot on their vacation in Ecuador, stay longer and really want to meet the locals and experience the destination.”
Rivadeneira indicated there will be an extensive marketing campaign directed towards consumers to educate them that Ecuador is a safe country, full of cultural and geographic diversity and is a year-round destination. Ecuador has invested heavily in tourism infrastructure in recent years including US$450 million allocated to safety related projects, three new airports and 12 renovated airports, 7,261 km of road improvements and new hotels.
Canadian visitation in 2014 was 33,240, an increase of 19% from 2013. Visitation has increased an average of 6.4% from 2007 to 2014. Ecuador which has had a paltry budget in the past now has a $50 million promotional budget for 2015.
Rivadeneira said they are trying to get nonstop service from Canadian gateways to Ecuador and said they are hopeful that Air Canada and Air Transat, which they have had discussions with, will launch service in the future. She pointed out they are looking for more high yield visitors than mass tourism.
Ecuador will be hosting webinars for agents throughout the year as well as allocating additional resources while working closely with Canadian tour operators in developing more tours to Ecuador. They have launched a new website, http://trade.allyouneedisecuador.travel/en/ specifically for the travel trade.
Ecuador bills itself as the ‘Most Compact Megadiversity Country in the World’ and ‘Four worlds in one country’ with the Amazon Rainforest, Galapagos Islands, Avenue of the Volcanoes and Pacific Coast. There are 17 ethnic groups, 1,695 bird species, 60% of South American species, 62 volcanoes over 4,000 metres and 14 indigenous languages.
Rivadeneira indicated they are developing more meet the local type tours where travellers can visit farms where cocoa beans (they are famous for chocolate) are harvested or visit indigenous tribes to see how they live in the Amazon Rainforest.