One-on-One with Ecuador’s Minister of Tourism Niels Olsen

We recently caught up with Niels Olsen, Minister of Tourism for Ecuador.

Olsen shares insights into Ecuador’s tourism rebound and his message to the travel advisor community.


TravelPulse: As the travel industry bounces back, what can you tell us about the latest on Ecuador’s tourism recovery path?

Niels Olsen: Ecuador is on the right path of recovery at the moment. Our most important market is the US and the number of American travelers heading to Ecuador are pretty much the same as 2019. Ecuador is doing a great job promoting the country – we have new lodges, new experiences new cruises that are waiting to be explored.

TP: Being that we are here at Virtuoso Travel Week, which is synonymous with luxury travel, where does luxury tourism fit into Ecuador?

NO: Well, I think Ecuador is one of those destinations that is still off the beaten path, which is great because it gives a lot of space and experiences to travelers to come out and connect with the local culture, try out the local cuisine, and have those experiences that the world is looking for –to connect with locals and try out new things.

Mashpi Lodge outside of Quito, Ecuador, part of Hurtigruten’s Galapagos pre- and post-cruise options. (photo via Hurtigruten Expeditions)

TP: What are some of the most popular spots right now for Ecuador travel?

NO: Well, you always have the Galapagos Islands, the Amazon rainforest, the lowlands, the Highlands, the volcanoes, there’s so many beautiful things to see right now in Ecuador that is really hard to choose only one spot. But about a few weeks ago I went scuba diving with huge manta rays in Puerto Lopez, and I think not many people know much about it. It’s one of my preferred and my favorite experiences to do in Ecuador at the moment.

TP: What is your message to travel advisors

NO: I just saw a message saying that said travel opens hearts and I think that’s right on. When travelers come to Ecuador that’s what they get to experience. They connect with local families; they can stay at a family-owned Hacienda up in the highlands by the volcanoes or stay with a tribe or indigenous community or in the Amazon. I mean it really opens up a new world for travelers.

Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
Travelers hike in the Galapagos Islands

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