Although Cuenca is known for its historic district boutique hotels, four large, modern hotels are either under construction or in the planning stages outside of the district.
A 50-room, six floor hotel is nearing the half-way point in construction on Avenida del Estadio, across from the Alejandro Serrano Aguilar football stadium. To be called Zahir 360, the owners say it will cater to business travlers and tourists when it opens in 2014. It will feature four levles of underground parking, two restaurants, formal and informal conference rooms, a gym, sauna, and green space.
A proposed Marriott hotel that would be built adjacent to the Millenium Plaza remains in negotiations with city officials. Two other projects are beginning the permitting process, according to officials.
According to the Cuenca hotel association, the city has 137 hotels, most of them boutiques or hostals in the historic district, which can accommodate 5,700 guests. City hotels average about 60% occupancy.
City mercados scheduled for improvements
The city of Cuenca will spend $2 million to upgrade its municipal mercados in 2013. Seventy percent of the total, or $1.4 million, is budgeted for El Arenal, the city’s largest Mercado on Av. Las Americas.
Commonly known as Feria Libre, El Arenal will see major renovations to its sales spaces which have become inadequate and outdated, according to city officials. Access for the handicapped will also be improved.
Other mercados that will benefit from the additional funding are 12 de Agusto and 10 de April, says the city planning office.
Number of cell lines surpasses Ecuador’s population
Ecuador has earned the distinction of being the first Latin Amerivan country to have more active cell phone lines than people.
According to the government’s Telecommunications Authority, Ecuador now has 16.9 million lines, 1.7 more than its 15.2 million inhabitants.
One of the downsides to the increase in cell service is the reduction in landlines use. The authority reports that the number of landlines has declined by 5% in each of the last three years.
Oil production increases at end of 2012
Ecuador increased its oil production by 2.9 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2012, compared to the same period a year earlier, to an average of 508,800 barrels per day (bpd), the Central Bank says.
Ecuador, a member of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, or OPEC, produced 499,900 bpd in the April-June 2012 period.
The Andean nation's refineries processed 13.8 million barrels of petroleum during the third quarter of 2012, down 6.3 per cent from the second quarter.
Ecuador exported 32.9 million barrels of crude worth about $US3.13 billion ($A2.98 billion) in the third quarter of 2012, with the average price per barrel at $US95 ($A90.32), thanks to the rise in oil prices, the Central Bank said.
Cutline: Most Cuenca hotels are boutiques in the historic district.