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Tourism and Development

Tourism and Development in Ecuador

Ecuador is a country with endless natural richness. The geographic and climatic diversity of its four regions have given rise to thousands of unique species of flora and fauna. All in all, Ecuador is home to at least 4,500 species of butterflies, 345 reptile species, 358 species of amphibians, and 258 mammal species, among others, many of which are located in the 26 protected areas along the Country. Teeming with so much life, it is no wonder that Ecuador is one of the planet’s top 17 nations with more biodiversity. Moreover, Ecuador is not only diverse with respect to its wildlife.

The nation is also home to 13 indigenous nationalities, each of which maintain their traditional customs, way of life, and world vision. The Eastern Quichua, Huaorani, Achuar, Shuar, Cofan, Siona-Secoya, Shiwiar, and Zaparo all live in the Amazon region. In the Andes, live the highland Quichua such as the Cañaris and the Saraguros. The Coastal region is home to the AWA, Chachis, Cayapas, Tsachilas, and Huancavilcas. The urban areas are inhabited mainly by mestizos (mixed race), whites, and Afro-Ecuadorians.

Ecuador’s official language is Spanish, but a variety of indigenous languages, such as Quichua, Awapit, Cha’palachi, Tsafiqui, Paicoca, A’ingae, Huatirio, Shuar-chichan, and Zaparo are still spoken widely in rural areas. Using the area’s natural resources to produce some of the world’s finest artisan crafts, Ecuador’s indigenous groups handcraft hats, woven goods, wood carvings, and much more. In addition to providing income to these marginalized groups, the production of these crafts help the groups that make them maintain their culture, life, religion, myths, and fantasies while sharing their beauty with the world. The Ecuadorian Andes region is famous worldwide for its prolific production of fine leather products. In the Austro of the southern highlands, fine silver and gold works abound. In the coastal and Amazon regions, pottery-making and straw-weaving are part of everyday life. Throughout Ecuador, men and women alike are skilled at giving shape to clay and vegetable fibers.

Ecuador’s strategic location has brought many twenty-first century investors and businessmen to the country. Located in the middle of the world, it opens its doors to commercial and cultural exchanges, alike. Ecuador is the world’s largest banana producer and one of its main flower exporters. Tourism is the country’s fourth largest income-earner, with oil being its number one revenue generating industry. Shrimp and cocoa are also of great importance to the nation’s economy, which now has the U.S. dollar as its official currency. With well-developed tourist infrastructures, Ecuador’s major cities offer all types of services from fine dining to lodging in the world’s most luxurious hotel chains. Quito is the political heart of the nation, Guayaquil is the country’s economic pulse, Manta is an important port and tourist destination, and Cuenca is the cultural center of Ecuador.


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