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Legal Background

| Tourism Law | Other Tourism Laws |

Tourism Law

The new Ecuadorian Tourism Law is designed to develop one of the most prosperous industries in the world and protect the tourist as the consumer. Highlighted is the fact that Ecuador is competing in an international arena with other countries that offer good connections, excellent roads, competitive prices, quality facilities, and great accommodations. The priority is to work with a functional infrastructure and with the people. The project, which has the backing of the World Tourism Organization and the Latin American Parliament, is currently being analyzed by the President of the Republic and will then be sent to Congress for its approval. These entities have recommended that countries update its legislation and redefine the role of the State so that it becomes more of a facilitator and controlling body, thereby paving the way for the private sector to have more responsibility for tourism.

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The new law is based on four fundamental principles:

  • A transition from a focus on satisfying supply (those offering the service) to one focused on satisfying demand (the tourist as a client and consumer who should be given quality service).
  • The establishment of mechanisms designed to protect tourists and increase their level of satisfaction so that they will return to the country and encourage others to visit it, instead of avoiding Ecuador. A satisfied tourist will lead to one new visitor, whereas an unsatisfied one will convince seven potential visitors not to come.
  • The simplification and delegation of control, supervision, and monitoring to decentralized bodies in order to increase transparency in State transactions.This will also cut down on public entities’ discretional decision-making when applying sanctions, giving licenses, and carrying out all other administrative procedures related to the tourism industry.
  • The application of tax incentives to attract foreign investment in the tourism sector. This is indispensable for developing infrastructure as well as introducing higher quality products and services.

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In order to protect tourists as “end consumers”, the Tourism Fiscal Office, dependent on the Attorney General’s Office, was established. This body will deal with civil and penal matters and will liaise with the Ministry of Tourism. Another aim of this project is to eliminate the bureaucratic and legal barriers which prevent citizens, whether a legal entity or individual, from becoming involved in the tourism industry. This is the recommendation made by the World Code of Tourism Ethics. The law also establishes two representative bodies from the private sector: an advisory committee, which will be a consulting body for the Minister, and the Federation of Tourist Chambers, which will represent the private sector and publicity. Short-, medium-, and long-term planning is necessary to sell Ecuador to the world as a “green country”.

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Other laws

For more information on Ecuadorian tourism laws, check out the "Ley de Turismo" site (Spanish language only).

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