Bare, naked ladies were part of Carnival excesses; Air travel shows strong recovery; Cuenca hotel owners blame highway landslides for low occupancy

Feb 23, 2023 | 12 comments

Miércoles, 22/2/2023

Hola, Todos –

Titular – Vialidad “derrumbó” expectativa turística (Road “collapsed” tourism expectations) – Landslides at km. 78 of the vía Cuenca-Molleturo-El Empalme impeded trips between Cuenca and the Coast el pasado sábado and lunes. On Saturday afternoon, 18/2, there was a landslide that closed the main route through the Cajas. It was reopened on Sunday and closed after another slide on lunes. It wasn’t until the morning of martes that MTOP cleaned part of the material off the road.

Hoteliers reported that occupancy was high starting el Jueves de Compadres, but started receiving cancellations once reports of the road closure went out. Bus lines reported from 80-100% of their seats were filled. In spite of the large number of visitors to Cuenca, there could have been more if not for the problems with the road. José Luis Correa, president of the Asociación Hotelera del Azuay said that hotel occupancy was between 60 & 65%. The association had been hoping for 90%. <Probably was a good thing that the landslide wasn’t at the start of the holidays. That would have kept people from the coast from coming to Cuenca at all. Maybe those who were stuck here offset some of those who would have come up only for the weekend.>

Sucesos –

According to government officials, air travel should return to pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2023 and possibly sooner.

48,480 emergencias registradas durante feriado de Carnaval (48,480 emergencies recorded during Carnival holiday) – The 48,480 emergencies recorded by ECU 911 nationally over the Carnaval holiday was a reduction of 6% from the 51,461 recorded in 2022. 2,146 of those emergencies were in Cuenca. 5.293 people were busted for drinking in public spaces and there were a total of 3.069 escándalos (scandals) on public streets. <I still don’t know what constitutes a scandal on a public street now that there aren’t a whole lot of horses to scare.>

What occured in Salinas in Santa Elena Province was rated by citizens and authorities as uncontrolled. Videos circulating on social networks showed people opening car doors to spray foam at the occupants; people fighting; robberies; and other acts of vandalism. Some videos showed mujeres desnudadas (naked women – your words for the day) sitting on top of cars in public spaces. One video showed a couple having sex on the hood of a 1971 GTO with a small crowd, including two policemen, looking on.  <Where did they think they were? Bourbon Street? Were other people throwing them candy or beads or coconuts?> In Cuenca, a 22 year old motorcyclist was killed when he hit a pickup on Ordóñez Lasso in Santa María de Sayausí.

Nacional –

De El Mercurio del martes, 21/2:
Aviación alza vuelo luego de pandemia (Aviation takes off after pandemic) – According to the Asociación de Transporte Aéreo Internacional (IATA), the airlines industry in Ecuador will reach prepandemic levels by the end of 2023. Currently it’s between 75 & 85%. Globally, on average, the reactivation is expected to occur in 2024 with some countries like China barely over 50% in the recovery of their air transport.

For José Luis Aguilar, Transportation vice-minister, the Government’s policy of opening for investment has allowed an increase in the number of airlines, routes and frequencies, and creation of new destinations. He said Ecuador is one of the countries recovering the fastest, and Latin America is one of the continents advancing the most rapidly. However, Ecuador is still fighting to get a direct Quito-Paris route back as well as direct flights to Toronto, Sao Paolo and Santiago which were lost during the pandemic. New routes coming in marzo include Guayaquil-Bogotá by LATAM, and Quito-Medellín, Guayaquil-Cartagena, and Guayaquil Medellin by Avianca. Avianca will also fly Quito-New York route in junio, and Copa will start routes for Manta-Panamá and Manta-Galápagos.

The Guayaquil-Cuenca and Quito-Cuenca routes have a good percentage of seats filled; and Government and municipal authorities are meeting with airports in the north of Perú which are interested in triangulation with the Cuenca airport. A Manta-Cuenca route is also being analyzed. The cost of a Quito-Cuenca route can be as little as $14 with an advance purchase and as high as $500.

And that’s all for today so Hasta ? –

Jeanne

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