Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa on Tuesday said the country’s “ghost towns” were being visited by tourists as well as locals to “learn more about the history and culture of this country.”
He also said the tourism sector, which accounts for about 10 percent of the economy, needed to be diversified.
Correa made the comments during a tour of the capital of Bogota, where a series of ghost towns have sprung up in recent years in the capital’s tourist districts.
He said that many tourists were visiting the sites to learn more about Ecuador and the culture, but many locals had also come to see “the historical sites” in the towns they visited.
“There are ghost towns all over the country,” Correa said.
“They’re visited by both locals and tourists.”
Correa, who is seeking a third term in December, said he was concerned about a recent increase in cases of meningitis in the nation’s tourist towns, including a recent spike in cases reported in the Bogota area.
He said a large number of people in the area are being treated in the local hospital and that “some of them are dying.”
Correa also said that “the tourist industry needs to be more diversified, and to be better integrated” with the government.
Correas government is struggling to meet its budget deficit, which has ballooned to about 30 percent of gross domestic product.
The country has a debt-to-GDP ratio of more than 200 percent.
Corraes administration has blamed poor weather conditions on the increase in the number of visitors.
Correas tourism industry has become a hot topic in recent weeks, with Correes government announcing a nationwide tour of historic sites.
In a speech last week, Correa said that tourist numbers in Bogota had increased by 40 percent during the past year and that the government had created an “economic tour” to “provide economic benefits” to visitors.
The president also said he wanted the country to create an “eco tourism zone” that would be similar to “eco-Tourism” zones in other Latin American countries, including Colombia.
Correta said he wants to see more tourists visiting tourist sites, which include some of the world’s most popular tourist destinations.
“If we want to be a truly sustainable tourist destination, then we have to have sustainable tourism,” Correasca said.
Ecuador is one of the most visited countries in the world and is the world leader in tourists.
In 2010, Correa was re-elected to a third four-year term.
Corress administration is facing a $20 billion budget deficit that has put the country on track to become the third-biggest economy in the Americas.
The president said that he wanted to create “an economic tour” that will be similar the “eco tourist zones” in other countries, but the area of the country he referred to has been known to tourists for years.
“We have to be prepared to do more, and we can do it,” Corresa said.
Correbans government is trying to attract more tourists with a series.
It is also trying to ease the economic crisis in a country that has experienced an economic crisis for years and a string of violent incidents in recent months, including one in which police officers shot and killed a man in a crowded street. ___