More than half a million foreign tourists visited Quito in 2013, making the Ecuadorian capital one of South America’s tourism hotspots. The number of foreign tourists grew by 18%, with tourists spending US$332 million, according to state-run institute Tourism Quito.
Ecuador is doing all it can to attract foreign tourists to its historical monuments and tropical rainforests that are flush with wildlife.
Notably, the number of tourist arrivals grew rapidly after Quito opened its Mariscal Sucre International Airport, built by a Canadian company, in 2013. The new airport is now responsible for 60% of all international arrivals into the country, making it the busiest airport in Ecuador and one of the busiest in South America.
Ecuador attracted around 749,410 foreign tourists during the first half of 2014, 14.3% more than the same period last year. January and June were the two months that received the most visitors, with 152,576 and 128,452 tourists respectively.
In all, as many as 1,366,267 foreigners visited the South American country last year. The tourism institute says the country is aiming to attract more than one million tourists a year by 2018. Unlike in Central America, people from Latin America make up the bulk of the foreign tourists here.
One of Ecuador’s principal attractions is Quito’s colonial center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site located just 13 kilometers from the equator. The pristine beaches on the Pacific Coast and the Galapagos Islands are also major tourist sites.
Thanks to the Andes mountain range, temperatures in Quito average around 16 Celsius all through the year. According to the authorities, two new hotels are being constructed — the Wyndham and The Holiday Inn – specifically to cater to the needs of international visitors.
The Andean country was ranked one of the top tourists’ destinations at the recent International Fair of Tourism in Argentina.