Quito is preparing to leave the pause in which it was plunged by the coronavirus and enter a progressive phase of social and economic reactivation in which the municipality will gradually open the way to a “new normal” and the return of tourism, for the local and national moment.
The emblematic Ecuadorian capital, Cultural Heritage of Humanity, wants to reactivate what is one of its main engines of development as soon as possible and reposition the city as a destination.
SAFETY AND CONFIDENCE
It will do so through a campaign in which it will evoke its potential through all kinds of memories and experiences of different characters, local and international, who visited the city before the pandemic.
“The idea is to tell stories”, to highlight emblematic sites such as the Middle of the World, the Historic Center, rurality, the experiences of its people, with complementary elements such as gastronomy and culture, Carla Cárdenas, general manager of Quito Tourism.
Aware that it is one of the sectors that will take the longest to recover from the shock of COVID-19, the senior official stressed that in the post-coronavirus era they will focus on local, nearby tourism, highlighting concepts such as “security” and “trust ”
GENERATE THE DREAMS AGAIN
Along with the rest of the country, Quito went into mass isolation on March 16 to contain the coronavirus, which after almost 60 days of quarantine, 2,200 people have been infected in the city, of whom one hundred died.
During the quarantine, wrapped in the global message of “Stay at home”, the municipality encouraged to remember the patrimonial value of the city through the campaign “Your story begins at home”, with which it offered through a special video the culture of great towns and hidden corners in this part of the Andes.
A campaign that also evoked its international tourist image since 2018: “Your story begins in Quito”.
And hooked on social networks, she accompanied citizens through places full of magic and history, architecture and art, gastronomy, music and legends that run through the narrow streets of the colonial center and the wide avenues of modern Quito.
Also with protagonists such as hummingbirds and spectacled bears, waterfalls, mountains and trails, images of a rurality that is the other side of the more urban Quito, and which is less than 30 kilometers away.
In the recovery stage, the people of the place, as hosts, will continue to report on the riches of their respective places, and tourists will upload memories of their visit to Quito to social networks, which in 2019 received more than 685,000 visitors and, between January and last February, more than 100,000.
“After this confinement, what we are going to look for are experiences that meet our emotions because that is tourism: generating dreams,” said Cárdenas.
The new normality in Ecuador, which envisages in principle to restore flights on June 1, will be marked by biosafety protocols and there are already -for example- rules for the reopening of restaurants, cafes and hotels.
Hours and capacity, disinfection processes, training, group management, safety clothing, accommodation, interpersonal and table distance, as well as prioritizing payment by credit card or online are some of the measures to avoid contagion.
Some fundamental measures to generate confidence in the tourism sector, which is experiencing an uncertain scenario due to mobility restrictions, the economic difficulties of society and citizen fear of the outbreak of the pandemic.
In the new era of tourism, Cárdenas added, “we must learn from scratch”, use new security measures, other technologies, stop thinking about the massive and seek “places to rest, meet, change environment, breathe fresh air.”
And he pointed out that the tourism sector must be “very creative” to renew and evolve in the circumstances we live in.
“VERY SOON WE WILL SEE YOU AGAIN”
With the change from the “Stay at Home” to “Stay in Quito” campaign, the City Council will whisper to the public that “we will see each other again very soon,” said María Belén Pacheco, Marketing Director of Quito Tourism.
And that “very soon” those trips that were virtual during the “pause” will become a reality: the historic center, the Andean Choco, the Northwest, modern Quito, its parks, gardens, its life told in museums and on the streets steeped in history.
Also live new experiences in nature, enjoy gastronomy, or admire Quito from the heights of the cable car at 4,000 meters.
Traditions, the Andean worldview, myths and legends will add to the rich tourist resources of the city that, in the unprecedented “pause”, appreciated more the little things, the great moments and the diversity of its culture.