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Ecuador wins most of tourism awards for South America

Guayaquil, Ecuador, Sep 16 (EFE).- Public and private sectors in Ecuador’s tourism economy on Sunday took home most of the honors at the 25th edition of the regional World Travel Awards, considered to be the “Tourism Oscars.”

Ecuador, which was nominated in 38 categories, won in 25 of them, including the design of its capital, Quito, as a “South American Destination” and a cultural city.

Other awards, presented here Sunday at a ceremony in the Crystal Palace, were won by Guayaquil as a South American business trip destination, as well as a site for festivals and other events.

The top beach award went to the Galapagos Islands, located about 1,000 km (620 miles) off the Ecuadorian coast, and the vacation award went to the city of Cuenca, located in southern Ecuador.

The country also took home the nature destination prize, the luxury train prize, as well as the river cruise and the youth trips awards.

In the private sector, several hotels were recognized, along with the Quito airport, an eco-lodge, thermal baths, tourism operators and municipal tourism companies in Guayaquil, among others.

In addition, Gloria Gallardo, the president of the Guayaquil tourism company, received a special “Latin American travel personality” award.

Peru followed Ecuador with eight awards, including the two main prizes for South American culinary and cultural destination.

In addition, Machu Picchu was awarded the prize for main tourist attraction.

Bolivia took the trophy for Green Leader destination, and Cartagena de Indias, Colombia, for honeymoon destination.

Other awards were taken by Chile’s Atacama Desert, Rio de Janeiro and Argentina (for cruise destination).

The regional winners will now compete in the world finals for 2018, to be held in Lisbon, Portugal, on Dec. 1.

The World Travel Awards were established in 1993 to acknowledge, award and celebrate excellence in all tourism sectors.

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