The importance of tourism for Ecuador.
The importance of tourism for Ecuador.

Tourism in Ecuador has economic, social, cultural and environmental relevance.

Cotopaxi volcano being photographed by tourists.

Words: Jairo Cabrera / Photos: Mark Horrell, William Bolton.

"Our sector offers them the opportunity to earn a living. And to earn not only a wage, but also dignity and equality. Jobs in tourism also give people the opportunity to find their place in their own society, often for the first time".

Mr. Zurab Pololikashvili.

Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)

World Tourism Day is celebrated every year on 27 September under the auspices of the UNWTO. Its aim is to raise international awareness of the social, cultural, political and economic value of tourism and how the sector can contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. In line with UNWTO’s overall focus on skills, education and employment throughout the year, the theme for World Tourism Day 2019 was “Tourism and Employment: A better future for all”.

Official Message of the Secretary-General, UNWTO

Tourism can help us build a better future for all. Around the world, the tourism sector is a major source of employment, providing many millions of jobs and driving economic progress locally and nationally.

On the other hand, it is also a catalyst for equality and integration. In many places, employment in tourism offers women, young people and people living in rural communities the opportunity to support themselves and their families and to integrate better into society.

The real potential of tourism in terms of job creation and as a driver for equality and sustainable development is only just being realised. An essential part of this potential is creating decent work opportunities and contributing to the development of vocational skills. If we get it right, the continued growth of our sector will provide countless opportunities and allow tourism to live up to its global social responsibility to leave no one behind.

No single economic, social or human activity thrives in isolation. That is why governments and partners from the public and private sectors are increasingly working together to make tourism responsible and sustainable, and to ensure that its enormous potential is properly harnessed.

Just as new technologies are changing the way we travel, they are also changing the way we work. Tourism is leading the way in providing the skills and knowledge that workers need for the jobs of the future. Fostering this creative spirit, including effective collaboration with partners in the technology sector and academia, will drive the creation of more and better jobs.

On the occasion of World Tourism Day, we recognise the transformative power of tourism. Together we can harness the potential of tourism to shape a better and more equitable future.

Vilcabamba being visited by tourists.

Tourism in Ecuador.

Tourism has become the backbone of economic and social activities in several countries around the world. It is a tool for holistic and inclusive development, job creation and improving the quality of life of the population through entrepreneurship, infrastructure and foreign exchange earnings.

According to the Ecuadorian Development Bank, tourism has become one of the fastest growing economic sectors in the country in recent years, contributing 10.2 % to the gross domestic product (GDP). Through direct or indirect and induced effects, it contributes to one in ten jobs and generates $1.5 billion in exports, equivalent to 6% of global exports.

Did you know that...?

  • One in 10 people in the world is employed in tourism.
  • International tourism experienced a strong upswing in the first five months of 2022, with almost 250 million trips recorded, a 46% increase in tourism activity compared to pre-pandemic levels.
  • The data on tourism is optimistic, but it should be borne in mind that the Russian offensive in Ukraine could cause losses of $14 billion in this sector.


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