Azuay’s tour operators offer the program called Un poco a la carte. Its intention is to attract tourists to celebrate the bicentennial of Cuenca’s independence , which will be celebrated on November 3.
There are 25 routes that can be adjusted to the preferences of each visitor . They are options related to nature , gastronomy , archeology , culture , crafts … The packages have been promoted for a week and were prepared by the associations of tourist guides, hoteliers and travel agencies.
For Silvia Parra , president of the Association of Tour Operators , it is necessary to adjust the offer , because today travelers are more demanding and choose between destinations that offer hygiene and food safety measures .
According to Parra, hotels already have 50% of their reserved capacity. In Azuay there are 200 hotels , hostels , hostels and other formal accommodation centers , with a capacity of 9,000 beds.
On the holiday for the independence of Guayaquil, Cuenca had 60% occupancy, according to figures from the Municipal Tourism Foundation .
The rest of the days -during the pandemic- the indicator borders 8%.
In addition to promotions on social networks, the foundation and the Azuay Hotel Association held a Gastronomic Festival and presented the cultural and tourist agenda in Guayaquil , on October 22.
Information on Cuenca was made available at the tourist information offices in Quito , Machala and Loja . From these four cities comes the largest number of tourists who come to the Azuayan capital.
According to Mayra Toledo , president of the Association of Tourism Guides of the Austro , visitors prefer nature destinations; the Parque Nacional Cajas is one of the most popular sites.
For this reason, the Route of the Explorers was set up , which includes horseback riding, a walk through the La Toreadora lagoon , hiking and typical food. There are also other destinations, such as the El Plateado and Monjas hills .
For those who prefer cultural spaces, there are museums, the domes of the New Cathedral , visits to the artisan centers of toquilla straw hat weaving and the Ingapirca Archaeological Complex, which is in Cañar, was added.
In Gualaceo and Chordeleg visits are offered to the artisan centers of weaving, jewelery, footwear and pottery. Sígsig , on the other hand, is sold as a destination of nature, archeology and crafts and the Paute canton offers typical food.
Prices depend on the hotel and restaurant , on average it is USD 190 per person, for three days and two nights, all inclusive.
Those who do not hire tours can opt for the activities scheduled within the bicentennial festive agenda . There they offer visits to exhibitions in museums, rides on the tram, tourist routes in the Historic Center and tours on the public bicycle.
For the holiday, the Municipality will allow restaurants in areas such as El Padrón, La Merced , Paseo 3 de Noviembre and the Historic Center to extend their attention to the portals. The intention is to have open spaces outdoors and provide security for visitors .
The Municipal Tourism Foundation also promotes typical food in rural areas such as Baños , Ricaurte and Barabón .
Juan Pablo Vanegas , president of the Azuay Hotel Association , values that people are traveling again, despite the fact that the pandemic has not ended. “We are interested in generating trust, that is why we strive to disinfect spaces to minimize contagion.”
Biosecurity and recommendations
335 restaurants, hotels, tour operators and transport companies have the insignia Cuenca biosecure , which guarantees hygiene measures.
The Ministry of Tourism gave Cuenca the Safe Travels seal , which recognizes it as a destination where the contagion of covid-19 is prevented .
The tram will be operational from 05:45 to 22:00, every day, with frequencies every 15 minutes. The ticket costs USD 0.30 with ticket.
A Cidap fair will be open to the public on this holiday. There will be 64 exhibitors who will comply with all the biosecurity measures .