The Foreign Currency Exit Tax (ISD) will not be charged to companies that sign agreements with Ecuador within the Open Skies policy. In 2018 tourism generated $ 2,392 million. It was the third source of non-oil income in the country, after bananas and shrimp.
One of the strategies to increase the participation of the sector is to expand air connectivity. In this sense, the Minister of Tourism, Rosi Prado de Holguín, informed EL TELÉGRAFO that tax reforms will be made to stimulate investors.
What is the 2018 balance?
The balance is positive. We have a growth of 11% with respect to 2017, without considering the income of the Venezuelan market. There has been connectivity, which is important.
We have three new companies that are Spirit, Gol and Laser. The frequencies of other airlines that already operated in Ecuador were also increased; Aeroméxico went from 7 to 10 flights a week, Aireuropa also has three flights, included Quito in its routes; Tame and Aerolane increased their domestic flights.
Is this also a result of the Open Skies policy?
Of course that gives facilities. Anyway, we still have to complete these processes once we have the ISD (Exit Currency Exit Tax) out of circulation for the airlines. (…) The biggest growth of tourists entering the country are by air and if we give the possibility of giving more airlines or new markets that means that more tourists will come to the country.
Is the proposal to eliminate the ISD for that policy?
It is only for what is part of the Open Skies agreement that the ISD is withdrawn. That is all. (It will be) only for the airlines that sign the agreements.
Will that be included in the Law of Production Promotion 2?
It is already included. It is already prepared and we will see what happens in the Assembly. (If approved) it would take effect immediately. We are proposing as urgent. We need to be agilite and get it up and running as soon as possible.
What results do you expect?
The issue there is basically to sign a bilateral agreement with the United States, and in doing so, it will help us for all the airlines that belong to the strategic alliances. For example, (the alliance) Oneworld, which is American Airlines and has Latam, Iberia … All the airlines of that alliance benefit from signing an agreement.
What results were achieved with the incentives of the Law of Productive Development?
We are starting, but people already know about it and we have some tourist projects that will be built this year. What are the figures for domestic tourism? We had 105 million overnight stays and 52 million internal tourism trips. Among the main destinations are still Quito, Guayaquil and Cuenca.
What is done to enhance Ecuadorian gastronomy?
We formed an advisory council on gastronomy last month (December), but we are going to put it into operation in February. It implies that we will have representatives of the chefs, restaurant owners, academia, to put together an Ecuadorian and country project.
The most important thing is that we all participate, that the Ministry serves to coordinate all the needs and see how we get ahead the Ecuadorian gastronomy. (Additionally) we will have two more advisory councils: one on connectivity, where airports and airlines will participate; and another that will be marketing to see how we use the few resources we have in the best way, with the cameras and guilds. (I)