How to sell: Ecuador

The time­less ap­peal of the Gala­pa­gos Is­lands, fea­tur­ing on a new Ewan Mc­Gre­gor TV show and a new app for tourists, cuador has a lot go­ing for it right now, says

Selling Travel - - Contents - Adam Coul­ter

Why sell it now?

Ecuador is one of those lesser-un­der­stood but up-and-com­ing des­ti­na­tions that re­mains mostly 'un­known'. Tiny rel­a­tive to its neigh­bours Peru and Colom­bia, Ecuador packs a lot into a small space – you can visit colo­nial towns, au­then­tic mar­kets, his­toric ha­cien­das, a unique cloud­for­est, the Ama­zon rain­for­est and, of course, the iconic Gala­pa­gos Is­lands in one coun­try.

Ecuador will fea­ture in a new TV se­ries – Long Way Up – with Ewan Mc­Gre­gor and Charley Boor­man, so ex­pect a spike in in­ter­est when it airs later this year.

Who to sell to?

The ex­tra­or­di­nary va­ri­ety of en­demic wildlife in the rain for­est makes a visit to Mindo a must for na­ture lovers.

For many the Gala­pa­gos is a once-ina-life­time des­ti­na­tion, which makes the is­lands a very easy sell, de­spite their rel­a­tive prici­ness com­pared to main­land Ecuador. The Gala­pa­gos is also a sur­pris­ingly good op­tion for fam­i­lies – as any­one who watched Monty Halls’ My Fam­ily and the Gala­pa­gos se­ries on Chan­nel 4 now knows.

Be­ing able to get up close and per­sonal with wildlife is a huge draw for par­ents with young kids. And for scuba divers the The Gala­pa­gos of­fers fab­u­lous div­ing and the chance to swim with ham­mer­head sharks, sea lions, whale sharks, sun fish, en­demic Gala­pa­gos sharks and tur­tles.

What to sell?

No trip to main­land Ecuador is com­plete with­out a visit to the Mindo cloud­for­est and rain­for­est in the north of the coun­try, which has such bio­di­ver­sity that new species are still be­ing found. There are plenty of eco-lodges to stay in, in­clud­ing Mashpi Lodge, which sits in the heart of the for­est and of­fers a range of ac­tiv­i­ties to get close to wildlife.

Two and a half hours' flight time from Quito, the vol­canic Gala­pa­gos is­lands are one of the few places in the world where an­i­mals are not afraid of hu­mans. The only way to see the is­lands is by boat, and there are nu­mer­ous op­er­a­tors.

All in­ter­na­tional flights land in Quito, a well-sit­u­ated city with its large and well­p­re­served his­toric cen­tre. Quito was de­clared a UN­ESCO World Cul­tural Her­itage Site in 1978.

What’s new?

Ho­tel Il­lam, a new high-end bou­tique ho­tel (il­la­ex­pe­ri­ence­ho­tel.com), has opened in a former colo­nial man­sion in San Mar­cos, Quito. The neigh­bour­hood is fa­mous for its writ­ers, artists and mu­si­cians.

Lind­blad Ex­pe­di­tions is sail­ing a se­ries of one-week Gala­pa­gos cruises in 2018 and 2019 while Ecuador spe­cial­ist Met­ro­pol­i­tan Tour­ing (met­ro­pol­i­tan-tour­ing.com) has re­fur­bished its 40-pas­sen­ger Gala­pa­gos yacht, Is­abela II.

Quito Tourism (quito­travel.ec) has launched an app which acts as a vir­tual guide, of­fer­ing in­for­ma­tion about key tourism at­trac­tions and must-see city sights.

When to sell it?

Right on the Equa­tor, Ecuador is warm year­round. How­ever, it does have two dis­tinct sea­sons – the dry sea­son, which runs from June to Septem­ber, and the wet sea­son from Oc­to­ber to May.

The best time to visit the Gala­pa­gos Is­lands is De­cem­ber to May, when tem­per­a­tures range from the mid-20s to early-30s, mak­ing it eas­ier for hik­ing, trekking and wildlife spot­ting.

The tem­per­a­ture in Quito, in the foothills, has a year-round av­er­age of 13C.

THE SWING AT THE END OF THE WORLD AT CASA DEL AR­BOL, A SEIS­MIC MON­I­TOR­ING STA­TION

GUAYAQUIL, A PA­CIFIC PORT CITY

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