We’re now forced to hide away, remaining in lockdown to fend off the COVID-19 coronavirus. Nonetheless, Ecuador wants to remind travelers that it’s a destination waiting to welcome them back with open arms once this pandemic is in the rearview.
This open invitation is highlighted in a new video just released by this scenic country’s Tourism Ministry, urging increasingly anxious travelers to keep Ecuador in mind.
While this promotional clip eludes to several points, we wanted to spell out five reasons why Ecuador should be short-listed as a destination once you can begin exploring again.
1. A place close to nature and away from the crowds
Here, in the pint-sized South American nation of Ecuador, you can find the most amazing nature vacations, where you can stay away from the congested cities and crowds that you might prefer to avoid.
As travelers will be craving wide-open spaces and oxygen-rich destinations, this is precisely what you’ll discover in Ecuador. In fact, national parks and protected areas make of an astounding 27% of mainland Ecuador and 97% of its Galapagos Islands!
In addition to Ecuador’s sprawling Amazonian rainforest, as well as its breathtaking Andean region and the nation’s hundreds of miles of sunbathed Pacific coast, the country is brimming with astonishing biodiversity in its breezy Galapagos Islands.
Since the diminutive country’s four regions are very close to each other, you could easily visit all “four worlds of Ecuador,” experiencing in days what it might take several weeks to see elsewhere.
2. A national hospitality industry polishing up its act
The Ecuadorian travel industry is now under incredible scrutiny, with all high-quality hospitality providers already adapting their operations and standards to ensure their guests are safe when travel opens again.
With hygiene and sanitation now being made a top priority, Ecuadorian hotels are looking for ways to further heighten their sanitation standards and to establish social-distancing protocols at their properties. We’ve already begun seeing initial improvements like adding disinfecting wipes in public spaces and outside elevator banks, equipping staff with personal protective equipment, and disinfecting guest rooms frequently with electrostatic sprayers.
Similarly, airlines have begun making significant shifts to promote cleanliness, hygiene and safety in consultation with epidemiologists. As the aviation industry tries to find its footing, in the near term at least, we’ll likely see pre-boarding health checks at the airport, in addition to face mask requirements for the flight crew and passengers. Yachts are likely to embrace similar measures to those being deployed by these airlines, including enhanced onboard cleaning processes.
3. A family and small-group friendly destination
Once we finally turn the page on COVID-19, families will have likely spent months without really having had a chance to spend time together. Indeed, travel specialists are expecting the post-pandemic world to see what was the already-growing travel trend of multi-generational and small group travel being dialed up to a notch.
This emerging demand is accommodated perfectly by stays in Ecuador, whose hospitality infrastructure is designed around these needs. For example, instead of the mega-cruise ships that made the news in recent weeks, the main types of sailing vessels in the Galapagos Islands are intimate 8-suite luxury yachts, which can be charted for entire families or groups of friends. Similarly, the country’s many family-run hotels and lodges are designed not for burgeoning crowds, but for couples and small groups of close friends and family.
4. A country with experienced and reliable travel operators
Thanks primarily to Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands being among South America’s top-4 tourist destinations, the country has developed a number of quality tour operators that provide direct booking. These local tour operators differ from online travel agencies (OTAs) that act as middlemen to book all sorts of travel in one place.
With these OTA intermediaries, though, what’s now become apparent is that if something goes wrong when booking through these companies, they become only another cumbersome piece of the puzzle that needs to be figured out. Before a trip is successfully changed or canceled, for example, this can sometimes involve hours of calls to the OTA, then to the airline, then back to the OTA and so on.
With an experienced local Ecuadorian travel provider, you have only their policies to contend with and you will have your own personal travel advisor to sort out any difficulties. The value of this role came into sharp focus recently when travel advisers were able to step up, spending countless hours to get travelers home.
5. Meaningful “bucket list” travel opportunities
Prior to the COVID pandemic, “micro-trips” were becoming a huge trend in which people would fly to far-flung destinations for short periods of time. Such travel was afforded by cheap airfares and the booming “sharing economy” (like Airbnb, etc.).
Travel experts are now thinking that adventurers might begin considering fewer trips, with these being of longer duration and more meaningful. Regions like Ecuador’s Andes, its Amazon region and of course its Galapagos Islands offer such “bucket list” experiences that many of us have been planning and putting off for years.
Now, with this latest and greatest reality check having shaken us all up, people will begin realizing that places like Ecuador — with the diversity of sprawling landscapes, cultures, and exotic wildlife (not to mention its amazing food!) — is a destination that checks all the boxes.
As we know, the travel industry is quite resilient and expected to rebound fairly quickly to satisfy some of the pent-up demand of adventurous people anxious to hit the road.
Therefore, travel to Ecuador represents a nature vacation for safely experiencing the very best that South America has to offer.
Alfonso Tandazo is President and CEO at Surtrek Tour Operator. Surtrek Tour Operator is a well-established firm, specializing in custom-designed luxury tours in Ecuador, the Galapagos and throughout the rest of South America.