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Familiarization visit - from left, Thomas Alva Pemberton, president, TDE Tours; Shelley Steven, planning executive, Swan Hellenic; Bianca Farquharson, account executive, Royal Caribbean; Javier Hrycaniuk, manager, Port Contecon; Jeffrey Matthew Cohen, manager port operations, Holland America Group; Shandra Stoeterau, manager land programs, Silversea Cruises; Paulina Andrade, connectivity director, Ministry of Tourism; Ida Vargas. branch manager, ISS Ecuador; Basil Karatzas, ceo and president, Karatzas Marine Advisors; Carlos Prieto, port operations controller, ISS

Cruise planners explore Ecuador's 'four worlds in one place'

Ecuador’s Ministry of Tourism and Inchcape Shipping Services showed cruise line planners 'four worlds in one place'—the Galápagos Islands, the Amazon, the Andes and the Pacific Coast.

ISS Ecuador worked with the ministry to organize a familiarization trip that drew representatives of Royal Caribbean, Swan Hellenic, Silversea Cruises and the Holland America Group. They got a taste of the 'four worlds' along with ports including Esmeraldas, Guayaquil and Manta.

Jeffery Matthew Cohen, port operations manager for the Holland America Group, considered it a 'fascinating' itinerary and said he enjoyed seeing what travelers experience. He had visited Manta before but not Esmeraldas or Guayaquil.

'Ecuador has a very rich cultural heritage that is very appealing to tourists, and truly has something for everyone,' Cohen said.

The trip included a visit to Mitad del Mundo, the equator at the ‘middle of the world,’ and Malecón 2000, an urban renewal project overlooking the Guayas River in Guayaquil where the group visited the historic neighborhood of Las Peñas. ISS also introduced each port and its benefits to the cruise planners.

'We were delighted to assist the Ministry of Tourism with this cruise fam trip to help promote Ecuadorian tourism and attract more cruise ships to our ports,' said Ida Vargas, ISS Ecuador branch manager.

'Ecuador has so much to offer cruise lines operating in the Pacific. The government has also made a considerable investment to attract more visitors to the experiences this unique country can offer,' she added.

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