Free «A Critique of Tourism Policy and Planning in Ecuador» UK Essay Sample

A Critique of Tourism Policy and Planning in Ecuador


Ecuador is a South American country, which capital is Quito (San Francisco de Quito). Ecuador is among the world’s best tourist destinations. It has considerably effective and working tourism policy and plans. Tourism in the world is facing many upcoming trends, which require apt response and proper planning. In order to look in-depth into the tourism policy and planning of the country, it is necessary to learn some facts about Ecuador. This country has six tourism bases, which are the backbone of this industry. These are the Galapagos Islands, Incan ruins, Quilotoa Crate Lake, the Great River Amazon, Glaciated Volcanoes, and Tropical Rainforests. In an attempt to preserve and keep these bases in good shape, Ecuador has planned three types of tourism: conservation, cultural and heritage sites. These types aim at ensuring that tourism is not only modern industry and investment, but it will run forever. As much as tourism in Ecuador is booming, it has some issues that require a close eye to solve. These are an increase in the level of crime, erosion of moral and cultural values, increase in social decay, and environmental pollution as well as terrorist incidents. There are several stakeholders in Ecuador’s tourism, which include government, hospitality industry, public, business organizations, and local inhabitants as well. In response to the issues aforementioned, there are such recent tourism policies as conservation, employment, immigration, and local government. As in any other place, tourism in Ecuador has both positive and negative impacts; however, the positive impacts outweigh the negative ones, making it important to Ecuador. Taking into consideration the issues surrounding tourism in Ecuador, both the policy and planning are on the right track. This paper will discuss issues and policies regarding tourism industry in Ecuador, making proposals on ways to better them.

About Ecuador

The Ecuador Republic is situated in South America. The Ecuador’s capital is San Francisco de Quito, usually Quito. The nation, being formerly a part of Inca Empire Quito, has the best-preserved colonial architecture in the region and has also there two highest populated cities in country. Additionally, owing to their rich history, Cuenca and Quito have been declared as world heritage sites by UNESCO. With reference to UNESCO, Quito contains the largest, best-preserved, and least-altered historic midpoint (320 hectares) in Latin America. It became the first world cultural heritage site declared by UNESCO in 1978.

The country has four regions geographically – the Galapagos Islands, coastal lowland, eastern lowlands jungle, and mountain highlands (in other classification Andean Highlands (Sierra), Amazon rainforests (Oriente), and the Galapagos Islands). The name Ecuador comes from the equator that passes across the country. This country does not border Brazil.

Spanish is the Ecuador‘s official speaking language though some natives speak other languages as well.

Ecuador has plenty of active and inactive volcanoes. It has a highest volcano density on the planet.

The country made history by making declaration in 2008 that nature has constitutional rights.

Tourism Industry in Ecuador

The tourism industry in Ecuador is booming and thriving at the international level. It has one of the best tourism capacities in the world. Moreover, the country offers numerous activities to enjoy. The ruins of the Amerindian cultures are among the most adored historical sites within Ecuador. In addition to this, it provides an easy access to the Amazon, one of the biggest world's rainforests. Besides the Amazon, the Galapagos Islands have much to offer the intrepid adventurer. The Galapagos Islands also form a major tourist centre of the country. Each year, thousands of tourists flock in the area to sample the beautiful scenery that the Islands provide (Keene 2002). Common tourism opportunities incorporate a diversity of undertakings such as kayaking, horse riding, swimming, skiing, surfing, sky diving, water rafting, hiking, scuba diving, and volleyball. Some activities are extreme, but others are relaxing and gentle. Some locations provide a selection of activities. The Ecuador tourist board is well reputable with reference to cautioning tourists concerning dangers aboard in such undertakings and ascertaining that the things taking place there happen in the harmless conditions imaginable. Visitors heed the cautions for their best security. Another issue in terms of Ecuador's tourism booming is the strong prevalence of Incan ruins. These qualities have acted a chief function in forming the repute of the nation as a tourist fascination center.

Types of Tourism

The tourism industry in Ecuador incorporates various types of tourism as highlighted in the slides. To begin with, conservation tourism is practiced in the country; it refers to the type of tourism in which the proceeds from tourist-related activities are used to preserve the natural environment and the tourist attraction sites in general. Additionally, cultural tourism is practiced in the country. The country is rich in cultural and historical attractions, hence there exists the need to promote well-known heritage sites such as Cuenca (Graham, Ades & Meghji 2003).

Issues in Tourism Industry

There are several issues arising from the practice of tourism in the country. For example, recent reports reveal an increase in the level of crimes in Ecuador. This is mainly the result of the increased flow of tourists into the area. Some of them use tourism to promote their terrorist activities, therefore making it difficult for the government to control the problem (Greenspan 2011). Furthermore, tourism has resulted in the erosion of the traditional and cultural values. For instance, people are adopting new weird cultures such as homosexuality that were not practiced before. Additionally, local people have adopted the western values at the expense of the traditional values leading to the inevitable erosion. Thus, the level of social decay in the country has risen (Viva Publishing Network 2008). As a result of massive tourism activities, environmental pollution has become a noticeable problem. When human activities increase, the environment suffers considerably in most cases; and tourism here is no different.


The major stakeholders in tourism industry in Ecuador include government, hospitality industry, business organizations, public, and local residents, among others. The government has greatly invested in the field of tourism because it contributes greatly to the national revenue budget. For that reason, the government, which is the dominant stakeholder, has formulated new policies and regulations that aim for conserving and sustaining tourism-related activities. The hospitality industry and many business organizations also form the mainstay of the tourism sector (Ritchie et al. 2011).

The activities of these organizations are dependent on the level of tourism even though they are key stakeholders. Furthermore, the public and the local inhabitants of the tourist attraction centers also gain from tourism in the country. For example, tourism has provided numerous job opportunities for the millions of young people in the country among other advantages (Sloan, Simons-Kaufman & Legrand 2012).

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The aforementioned stakeholders work hand in hand in order to promote and conserve the tourism sector in the country. Being alone. the government cannot manage the tourism industry, hence it needs the support from other stakeholders for the purpose of collaborating their activities.

Recent Tourism Policies

Considering the level of tourism activities and issues relating to it, the government has put in place policies and regulations that are aimed at protecting and conserving the environment. For example, the government has introduced stricter regulations with regard to the pollution of the environment. A hefty fine should be imposed on the perpetrators to discourage others from engaging in similar destructive environmental activities. The government has also outlawed poaching in the country with bid to conserve the natural wildlife with the purpose of sustaining tourism.

In addition, new immigration policies have been introduced to curb the existence of illegal aliens in the country (Jackson 2003). Some of those policies include issuance of temporary visas to the visitors allowing them to stay within the borders of the country for the stipulated period. Upon expiry, the tourists are expected to return to their places of origin (Wearing 2008). These immigration policies aim at reducing the possibility of criminals wearing the facade of tourists. When tourists have temporary visas, their details and identity is in government records, thus they are not likely to engage in criminal activities.

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Employment is another policy that the government is incorporating into the tourism industry. The tourism sector should provide employment in an attempt of improving the unemployment statistics in the country. Besides, the government prioritizes the employment of the local inhabitants in order to make sure they benefit from the tourism activities in their localities. Since tourism entails the usage of public resources, public employment is a way of giving back the society what it needs.


The practice of tourism in Ecuador has resulted in both positive and negative effects. However, the positive effects outweigh the negative ones, thus making tourism important and significant to the economy of Ecuador (Durham 2008).

Some of the positive implications of tourism in Ecuador include the creation of employment opportunities. The majority of local residents have been recruited to work in the tourism sites, therefore making it a source of income for millions of people. In addition to this, tourism has built the national reputation of Ecuador in South America as well as in the entire world. As a result, Ecuador is known as an attractive area and a haven for tourists. Consequently, the economy of the country has gained greatly from tourism industry (Karanasios & Burgess 2008).

On the other hand, the level of crime has risen in the country as a result of the increased flow of tourists in the country. At times, it is difficult to closely control the visitors flowing into the country in order to ensure they do not engage in terrorist activities. As much as there are policies regarding immigration, it occurs that some slip through the policies. Such fact pose threats to Ecuador and the world at large. Additionally, as a result of locals interacting with tourists from all over the world, they have borrowed a lot in behavior and values from the tourists. The massive borrowing of outside culture and values is depleting the traditional values of Ecuador. People are embracing the foreign values at the cost of their traditional values. Lastly, moral and social values erosion is massive as a result of increased tourism (Cooper et al. 2005). Such issues as homosexuality and same-sex marriages are becoming common among Ecuador people as a result of interacting with tourists.

Conclusion and Recommendations

Conclusively, the tourism sector in Ecuador is thriving and booming since the presence of many attractive tourist sites such as the Galapagos Islands, Quilotoa Crate Lake, the glaciated volcanoes, the tropical rainforests, and the exquisite church. Most visitors come into the country to witness the glory of these sites. The large number of tourists accounts for the considerable increase in the level of national income from tourism industry. Above the natural attraction sites, there are also artificial attraction sites such as the El Panecillo, the Malcon river walk, the Cajas national park, and the Mojanda Lakes, among others (Palmerlee 2006). The major stakeholders in Ecuador's tourism sector comprise of government, public, business organizations, and hospitality industry. Each of these stakeholders has a role to play for keeping tourism on the go. In order to deal with the negative impacts of tourism, each of these stakeholders must work effectively in their capacity. The issues that tourism in Ecuador is facing are similar to those in other countries. The most striking thing is Ecuador’s policy to improve security and make tourism industry an asset to the country. The tourism policy planning in Ecuador is considerably effective; and with some adjustments and improvements, the tourism industry will be steel strong.


In order to improve the level of tourism in the country, the government needs to protect and conserve all these resources (Buckley 2010). It would be a grave mistake that the stakeholders allow the depletion and wasting away of the attraction sites. Maintaining the glory of the attraction sites is the only way to ensure that tourism industry runs for the future decades. Without the attraction sites being in good shape, there will be no tourism industry in Ecuador. Therefore, conserving and protecting sites are the basic and most important practices. Additionally, the government should engage in extensive marketing campaign of the attraction sites in the world market in order to increase the number of visitors to Ecuador. Investing in the marketing of the tourism sector will attract both local and international visitors to the sites. It is important for the stakeholders to join hand for eliminating terror and security threats surrounding tourism in this country. Tourists will not visit a country in which security is not guaranteed. Therefore, improving security is unavoidable, if Ecuador intends to promote its tourism industry. It is also inevitable for tourism stakeholders to engage in a rigorous campaign that will enlighten the locals concerning the importance of their cultural and traditional values. Such a campaign will help to minimize the erosion of moral and cultural values. If the locals understand the importance of the values to them personally, to the country, and to tourism as well, they will deploy efforts to ensure the values are upheld (DelMastro, Swanson & Smith 2007).

Lastly, the government should consider increasing the budgetary allocations set aside for tourism industry. Increased finances would go a long way in financing and coordinating the activities in the tourism sector hence better efficiency of operations. Constrained budgets limit the ability of the tourism sector to market it as well as to make important improvements. Having larger budget, it will be easier for the sector to take necessary steps.


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