Having been recognised as a regional leader by voters at the World Travel Awards, Breaking Travel News here talks to Gloria Gallardo, president of the Guayaquil Public and Municipal Company of Tourism, to find out how it feels to have won
Breaking Travel News: Congratulations – Guayaquil has been honoured with the titles of South America’s Leading City Destination, South America’s Leading Meetings & Conference Destination and South America’s Leading City Tourist Board at the World Travel Awards - how does it feel to have won?
Gloria Gallardo: For us, it was a huge honour to have been nominated.
To have won, in all the nominations, it is a huge responsibility that will challenge us even more to maintain and improve our services.
Breaking Travel News: How useful are the World Travel Awards and similar accolades in promotion of the city to a global hospitality market?
GG: These awards awake people’s interest in Guayaquil.
It makes the world to keep an eye on us and show what the city’s got to offer.
Thanks to new technologies; we are able to join efforts and promote a modern and cosmopolitan concept of Guayaquil and its people who feel proud of their hometown and their identity.
Breaking Travel News: How would you describe the mood among tourism insiders in Guayaquil, and Ecuador more generally, in late 2020? Are you hoping for a return to normality next year?
GG: When Covid-19 first hit Guayaquil, the local city hall authorities took control over to restrain the negative effects of the pandemic.
In doing so, it also aimed to keep the city economy running accomplishing short- and long-term results.
Especially, the tourist area we have met with great success.
The tourism industry of Guayaquil felt supported by the mayor of Guayaquil, Cynthia Viteri Jimenez, who worked together with the Public and Municipal Company of Tourism of Guayaquil, that I lead, and formed the ‘United for the Reactivation of Tourism in Greater Guayaquil’ committee.
This is an organisation that has the participation of representatives of the entire tourism industry.
The objective is generating proposals to benefit the tourist sector, an important pillar for the economic reactivation of the city.
Some of the measures that we have been adopting include: obtaining the Safe Travels certification, temporary suspension of tourism taxes and levies, application of 75 per cent capacity for restaurants, application of 30 per cent capacity for the realisation of events and the re-opening of piers and parks.
Breaking Travel News: What plans does the Guayaquil tourism board have to restore confidence in the market looking ahead to 2021?
GG: After the Covid-19 health crisis, it is our top priority to regain consumer confidence.
We will focus on adopting all the necessary means to guarantee the well-being of tourists.
This is where we implemented training through biosecurity and the Safe Travels stamp safety measure, to ensure that the value chain of the sector targets specific health and hygiene issues.
In addition, these measures are essential for employers not to provide their services in a safety manner but it aims to also protect themselves and allow their environment to adapt more quickly to the new conditions brought as a result of this pandemic.
Guayaquil is considered a business travel destination and world class professional events hub.
In this post-pandemic year, two events have been successfully held: International Book Fair (virtual event) and the seventh edition of Raíces a Gastronomy Hybrid Fair (face to face and virtual).
At the same time, 24 virtual events and four hybrid events are in the works.
For the upcoming 2021 year, the Convention Bureau of Guayaquil will manage to bring more events to the city that will generate an inflow of tourists, creation of new jobs and social progress.
All these events will have the support of the Public and Municipal Company of Tourism and control agencies to guarantee the security and quality of the events and act as the watchdog of bio-safety protocols.
Find out more about visiting Guayaquil on the official website.