Quito, Ecuador’s Capital, presents new tourism developments to meet projected inbound tourism demands and host high profile events during 2013. A gateway to Ecuador’s four diverse regions - the Amazon, Andes, Pacific Coast and Galapagos Islands - Quito’s new projects include a new airport, improvement to the city’s connectivity, a cross country train route, new subway system, new convention centers and hotel expansions.
NEW AIRPORT AND INCREASED FLIGHT SERVICE
Set for inauguration in February 2013, Quito’s Mariscal Antonio Jose de Sucre airport is located 20 miles northwest from downtown Quito in the Tababela valley. Similar to New York’s JFK Airport, Quito’s new international airport has been granted a ‘B’ category by IATA. To date, the airport’s construction has generated more than $1 billion USD of economic activity in the local economy.
Estimated to receive an influx of 8 million travelers, Quito’s International Airport will feature a 13,451 ft landing strip capable to host bigger capacity airplanes that can handle direct flights to farther destinations from all over the world. Tame, one of Ecuador’s three domestic airlines, will offer direct flights to Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo and New York starting in 2013, KLM will fly also nonstop to Amsterdam while Iberia will operate its Airbus 340-600 to Quito.
Stretching over an area of 172 million square feet (16,000,000 m²), featuring a 410,000 square foot (38,000 m²) passenger terminal and a 1,000 parking area, the new airport was built to provide travelers a comfortable, efficient and seamless travel experience.
In order facilitate access to its new airport and make the city’s transit more fluid, Quito is in the midst of building a new freeway named ‘La Ruta Viva’. Set to open in phases, with portions operating by the end of 2012, this new road is expected to enable travelers to reach downtown Quito from the airport and vice versa within about 30-40 minutes as well as help reduce traffic by 50% in the greater Quito area. With a total investment of $48 million USD the entire highway is projected to be completed by 2014.
NEW TRAIN ROUTES AND LUXURY TRAIN
Tren Ecuador now offers 8 routes along the Andean and the Coastal regions thanks to the addition of two new routes originating from Riobamba. Tren del Hielo (or the Ice Train) will go from Riobamba to Urbina, and the Senderos de los Ancestros (or Ancestors’ Trails) train will travel from Riobamba to Colta.
The Tren del Hielo route passes through one of the country’s most scenic routes and its large windows allow visitors to take in breathtaking scenery including the Chimborazo, Ecuador’s tallest snow capped volcano (20,564 feet), as well as the Altar, Tungurahua and Carihuayrazo peaks. Upon arriving in Urbina, visitors can head to the Eco-Center where traditional agricultural activities can be observed. The train also offers typical Ecuadorian dishes from the Andean region, and even ice cream made with shaved ice from the Andean peaks!
Ending in Colta, a small Andean town famous for its scenery, indigenous market, churches and ruins, visitors can enjoy tours accompanied by local guides, including a boat ride around Colta’s lagoon while learning about the region’s history and endemic species. Also included in the tour is a visit to the Balbanera church, the first Catholic Church in Ecuador, inaugurated in 1534. Visitors can also opt for relaxing natural therapies, including mud baths, available at its nearby hot springs and spas.
Set to begin service in June 2013, the new luxury train known as Tren Crucero will travel from the breathtaking Andes south to the Pacific Coast over the course of a 4 day / 3 night journey. Powered by steam and diesel locomotives, the four coach train will feature a capacity for 54 passengers comfortably accommodated in sofa chairs facing dining tables. The coaches will also offer personal lockers, a café serving beverages and snacks and an outdoor terrace, where travelers can appreciate the ever changing breathtaking Ecuadorian landscapes along the route and the assistance of fully bilingual service staff and guides.
Passengers can opt to travel on the Tren Crucero from Quito to Guayaquil or from Guayaquil to Quito, passing through various scenic provinces, enjoying numerous excursions along the way, such as visits to rose farms, indigenous markets, ranches, historic sites, national parks and small Andean towns. Each evening passengers will be welcomed to typical Ecuadorian feasts at local haciendas where they will spend the night.
Set to begin construction this month, Quito’s Metro is scheduled to open its first metro line by mid 2016. A total investment of $1.4 billion USD, this project will be financed by the City of Quito and the Ecuadorian Government.
The metro’s first line will have 15 stops or stations while running across town from Quitumbe, located in southern Quito, to El Labrador, in northern Quito. Once complete, it is estimated that Quito’s Metro will transport 375,000 people daily and at average cost of $.50 USD per ride. The Quitumbe-Labrador line will cover an area of 15 miles, an estimated 34 minute ride, and its 15 stations will be located approximately 1 mile apart from one another.
Quito also plans to add another 3 lines to cover the city’s northern region, from El Labrador to la Ofelia; its northwestern area, from el Labrador to Carcelén; and the southwest area, from El Recreo to Guamaní.
NEW CONVENTION CENTERS
An integral part of the Paseo San Francisco Business and Entertainment Complex, Quorum Quito is a state of the art Convention and Business Center built in the Cumbaya valley featuring a total capacity of 3,200 delegates.
Located 20 minutes from the center of Quito, Quorum Quito spreads over an area of nearly 90,000 square feet (8,300 m²) and is equipped with 15 multipurpose event rooms that can seamlessly accommodate groups as small as 25 and up to 2,200 professionals in an acoustically insulated environment. Adjacent to the convention center is Alpha Point, a 34,444 square foot (32,000 m²) business center with fully equipped offices and meeting spaces for professionals to conduct their business and host fellow colleagues, clients and consultants. Additional services available in Alpha Point include a spa, beauty salon, barbershop, a gourmet store and more. Located just one floor above Quorum Quito, Paseo San Francisco offers a multitude of shopping, dining and entertainment options as well as an IMAX theater.
NEW CONVENTION CENTER AND BUSINESS COMPLEX
The city of Quito plans to build a new Convention Center that will stretch over an area of 1.3 million square feet (120,773 m²). Set to begin construction in 2014, the new convention center will be part of a major business complex to be built where Quito’s current airport is located (soon to be closed when the new airport opens in 2013).
Covering an area of 1.2 million square feet (117,000 m²), the business complex will feature a convention center, business, shopping and tourism related services as well as entertainment areas. The convention center will offer a total indoor capacity for 8,000 delegates and up to 30,000 in designated outdoor spaces. It is estimated to double the local economic impact produced by the MICE segment valued at $30 million USD over the last few years.
Quito’s LeParc hotel is a modern design boutique property that holds a Five Star Green Diamond Award and was recognized with a Trip Advisor’s Traveler Choice Award. Under new management, LeParc is expanding and expects to 30 more business and junior suites to its property by end of 2013.
The San Jorge de Quito Lodge and Nature Reserve offers the convenience of a Quito hotel with the tranquility of mountain birding lodge. Located on the outskirts of the city just 20 minutes from the airport, the Lodge offers quality accommodation in a converted 18th century mountain hacienda once used for religious retreats. Guests can enjoy 24 comfortably appointed rooms with private bathroom; as well as an outdoor swimming pool, Jacuzzi, Turkish bath, sauna, game room, lounge and museum and explore the beautiful gardens.
Surrounded by a 240 acre private reserve which houses 110 bird species, the lodge is the perfect launching pad for outdoor adventures (birding, hiking, mountain biking, or horseback riding) and cultural tours (such as guided excursions of colonial Old Town Quito.
Most recently Quito hosted the World Tourism Organization’s 54th WTO Americas Meeting, II International Ethics Congress, and the 20th OAS Inter American Tourism Congress from September 11th-13th.In attendance were approximately 400 international delegates, which included many tourism ministers and authorities from 25 countries.
In March of 2013, Quito will host the 128th Meeting of the Inter-Parliamentary Union where some 170 representatives from all over the world will congregate for five days of meetings and events.
From September 18-20, 2013 Quito will host the 37th annual Travel Mart Latin America at the Quorum Quito Convention Center. Recently held in Cartagena, Colombia, Travel Mart attracted more than 1,000 travel agents from 45 different countries, and generated approximately 7,000 business meetings.
Quito in a Nutshell
The first city to be named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1978, Quito’s diverse landscape and attractions allows for visits to the historic center with its many museums countless churches as well as other historic sites, nature walks, bird watching, hiking, mountain biking and other adventure and ecological activities.
Among its many popular attractions are the Cable Car ride over Quito, the Middle of the World Monument, the Avenue of the Volcanoes with its many parks and snow capped Andean peaks, rose farms, and the famous Otavalo market, the largest indigenous outdoor marketplace in South America. Just two hours northwest of the city is the Cloud forest, home to more than 500 bird species and a variety of orchids endemic to the region.