Ecuador is considered “the country of orchids” since 2013 for three reasons: the proximity to the equator, the presence of the Andes and marine currents.
Due to these factors, the species means a tourist, scientific and economic attraction for the country.
According to the Fourth National Report for the Convention on Biological Diversity, Ecuador has 4,032 of the species so far classified and published. In recent years, the offer of tourist routes for orchid observation has been extended.
Some of these are in the province of Pichincha in the Mindo Orchid, the Botanical Garden of Quito, Pululahua Geobotanical Reserve, El Pahuma Orquideological Reserve, Maquipucuna Ecological Reserve, among others.
In Azuay is located the Ecuagenera Orquidea, the Gualaceo Community Reserve, or Ecuaflor in Paute. Other outstanding ones are the Orquideas Pastaza Botanical Garden (Puyo); Bombolí Ecological Reserve; Palphina Orchid and the Podocarpus National Park (Loja).
This tourist offer has allowed the increase of visits to these places. For example, in 2017, 70,000 people visited the Botanical Garden of Quito.
The Pululahua Geobotanical Reserve received 158,024 visits last year and in the first quarter of 2018, already exceeds 50,000 visits.
On the other hand, the artificial reproduction of these plants allows them to be commercialized for households at a local level and for the international market.
Ecuagenera is another example, it is a family business specialized in the production and conservation of orchid species and hybrids based in Gualaceo (Azuay) and with stores in Cuenca; Guayaquil, Samborondón, Chongón and Quito.
This company cultivates around 51,000 annual plants produced for export. Its main market is USA, the business represents income of about $ 800,000. (I)