The number of tourists visiting Cuenca has risen 276% since 2008, the highest rate of growth in Ecuador.
Patricio Miller, president of the Azuay Chamber of Tourism, says the increase is due in large part to strong promotional campaigns by several government agencies. He also says that international media coverage of Cuenca has put the city in the spotlight, making it one of the most attractive destinations in Ecuador.
The Ministry of Tourism has sponsored tourism exhibits at the world’s top tourism fairs, he says, including the World Travel Market in London, Fitur in Madrid, as well as fairs in Berlin, Brazil and Costa Rica.
According to the Cuenca Municipal Tourism Foundation, since 2008 the number of tourists visiting Cuenca has grown from 300,000 to 830,000 annually. In 2013, 220,000 of those tourists were foreigners. Miller said the increase was especially dramatic among Europeans, especially Germans and citizens of Scandinavian countries.
The Azuay Association of Hoteliers reports that more than 20 new hotels have opened in the last year, bringing the number of hotel rooms to more than 7,000 in the city. They say that three larger hotels that are currently under construction will add more capacity as well as fill the need for five-star accommodations.