QUITO – The Quito city government aims to raise the proportion of touristic activity in its economy and is working on a plan to boost conference tourism with better travel connections in order to increase tourism from 4.5 to 8 percent of the city’s gross domestic product (GDP) by 2021.
The municipal agency Quito Tourism, dedicated to promoting the Ecuadorian capital as a tourist destination, is set to go full speed ahead with the city’s advertising and public relations.
Those are the principal elements of a five-year strategy laid out by the municipal agency, its director Gabriela Sommerfeld told EFE in an interview, while noting the importance of more convenient travel connections. “We need more arrivals with the fewest stopovers possible and at the best prices,” she said
Developing convention tourism is another of the agency’s top priorities, without forgetting the lure of its chief attractions, such as the historic colonial district, which is “the largest and best preserved in Latin America, whose 320 hectares (790 acres) constitute a magnificent living museum,” she said.
That part of the city, declared a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site, has “many small squares, 40 churches and chapels, 18 convents and monasteries, and 5,000 heritage buildings,” Sommerfeld said.
In 2016, Quito won for the fourth consecutive time the World Travel Award as the leading destination in South America, was picked by Trip Advisor as one of the 25 most popular destinations in that region, the Lonely Planet guide named it one the 10 places to visit this year, and it was twice honored by the Conde Nast Traveler publication.
These are prizes that acknowledge Quito to be “a beautiful city that offers different kinds of tourism and has unique Heritage Sites,” she said.
The year is important for the Ecuadorian capital because it will host Habitat III, an international conference of the United Nations on urban planning and housing that is held once every 20 years and which 18,000 foreign visitors are expected to attend.