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Ecuador, Spain agree to strengthen tourism cooperation

Jun 9, 2011 Trade

Ecuador and Spain on Wednesday signed a memorandum of understanding on expanding tourism cooperation in order to increase tourist flow between the two countries.

The memorandum, providing guidelines for the next five years, was signed between Ecuador's Tourism Minister Freddy Ehlers and his visiting Spanish counterpart Joan Mesquida.

It includes provisions for the exchange of information on sustainable development, technology innovation, tourism statistics, marketing experiences, the use of social networks, personnel training and promotions to attract visitors.

"Spain is making strong efforts to be a world leader in sustainable development," Mesquida said.

Ecuador's biggest value is "its mega biodiversity in such a small territory," which makes Ecuador an attractive destination for Spanish tourists, he said.

Spain is currently Ecuador's fourth biggest source of tourists. Some 59,030 Spaniards visited Ecuador in 2010, up 4.7 percent from 2009, when 56,400 Spanish visitors arrived in the South American country, Mesquida said.

The Ecuadorian minister, meanwhile, said both countries are interested in promoting tourism initiatives such as a possible "Week of Ecuador" in Spain and a "Week of Spain" in Ecuador.

Ehlers said Ecuador has decided to make tourism a fundamental source of revenue for its national economy and "that is why we are strengthening tourism cooperation with Spain."

"Spain is a real tourism power, which generously offers Ecuador its technical support, knowledge and experience," Ehlers said.