It’s going to be a busy year for Cuenca, according to Mayor Pedro Palacios.
“This is the 200th year since Cuenca declared its independence and we’re expecting exciting developments,” the mayor Friday. “We will finally see the operation of the tranvía, the beginning of expansion of the airport, the construction of a new market and the start of restoration work on important historic properties in El Centro.”
In addition, Palacios says the city will see the “most active cultural agenda” in the city’s history. “It will be year of concerts, performances and exhibitions that will highlight our rich cultural history,” he said. Events live Friday’s night’s jazz concert on San Francisco Plaza before a standing-room-only crowd will highlight the year’s activities, he added.
Palacios said new initiatives are being launched to attract more tourists. “The tranvía will be a major draw but the emphasis will be on the bicentennial and all the fairs and exhibitions associated with it,” he said. “We are partnering with the central government in a campaign to promote the city.”
Among long-range projects that will begin in 2020, the mayor said airport expansion is central to the city’s future. “We are growing rapidly and will have a population of more than one million within a few years so it’s time to make Cuenca into an Andean regional air hub,” he said, adding that the addition of airport facilities, including lengthening of the runway, are key to establishing direct air routes to Peru, Colombia and Chile.
Palacios said that several building restoration projects and efforts to improve pedestrianization in the historic district will also help attract more tourists.