Dispatch: On the ground in Quito, Ecuador
PHOTO: A week after a devastating earthquake, it’s business as usual for Ecuador’s tourism sector. (Photo by Janeen Christoff)
When you have planned to travel to a destination for many months and budgeted a lot of money for an experience, you want everything to be perfect. And while it can be a little worrying when your destination has just experienced a 7.8 magnitiude earthquake, you might worry that your dream trip might suddenly be unsafe. In fact, something like this presents the best time to go. Following times of crisis, your tourism dollars are more important than ever. Plus, you'll be there to see a destination's people come together in time of need, and possibly contribute.
¨We encourage tourists who wish to support Ecuador to continue with their travel plans and enjoy the country´s diverse attractions. We invite those who haven´t yet booked a trip to Ecuador to consider doing so. For those who wish to help in the recovery efforts, one of the best ways is to visit the country, and in doing so help sustain one of Ecuador’s most important industries and provider of jobs,” said minister of tourism, Fernando Alvarado Espinel, from the coastal town of Chone.
Arriving one week after the earthquake, I was prepared to see some damage from the quake but there is nothing obvious in or around Quito. Quito itself was very minimally affected and everything is running as usual. The only remnants of the temblor are from the people who relay stories of the outpouring of help and volunteers that have come from around the country – and the world – to assist the people in the country’s remote coastal towns decimated by the earthquake.
The Ecuadorian people are committed to helping their fellow citizens and have turned out to give whatever they have – even if they have very little – to help in the recovery effort. Some have driven doctors and supplies into remote villages on dirt bikes. Many have helped load trucks in Quito with supplies of clothes, food and water and still more have taken time off of work to drive into the hardest hit villages to lend a hand in rescue operations and rebuilding efforts.
But this is not what you will see as you travel through the country – although you may see some extra trucks heading west on the highways. I have been here for three days now and haven’t felt the ground shake a single time. Nor have I experienced any disruption in my itinerary due to the earthquake. It’s often hard to believe that a place can be rocked by such a devastating natural disaster only to bounce back so quickly but, speaking from the heart of Old Town Quito, I can honestly say that it has. Only the warmest of welcomes from the Ecuadorian people await travelers headed to the country as well as tales of survival and feelings of gratitude for your support.
More by Janeen Christoff
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