Friday, June 3, 2016

Ecuador at the Globetrotters Club: Where to Visit After April's Earthquake

By Russell Maddicks

Ecuador is one of the most interesting and rewarding countries to visit in the Americas. A small country blessed with a hugely varied geography – encompassing Andean peaks, Amazon rainforest, Pacific beaches, and the wildlife-wonderland of the Galapagos Islands – it has been described as a microcosm of South America.

On 16 April a 7.8 magnitude earthquake devastated communities along the northern Pacific coast and a massive relief effort is still underway. Meanwhile, the rest of the country is operating normally and more than ever needs tourism revenue to help fund the rebuilding on the coast.

Russell Maddicks, the author of the “Culture Smart! Guide to Ecuador” will give an illustrated presentation on Saturday, 4 June, at the Globetrotters Club in London explaining the current situation on the ground, why you should visit Ecuador now, and giving a taste of the country's main tourism highlights. 

On 16 April a devastating 7.8 magnitude quake struck the Pacific coast of Ecuador killing some 660 people, injuring over 7,000 and destroying homes, businesses, schools and hospitals in Manabi and Esmeraldas provinces.

This is one of the worst disasters to hit the country in decades and an unprecedented time of need for Ecuadorians living along the northern Pacific coast. Millions of dollars have been raised by well-wishers around the world to help the relief efforts, and international groups like Oxfam, Care, and UNICEF are all operating in the country to assist the government in housing, feeding and providing medical attention to those most affected.

The rebuilding efforts will cost over $3 billion and maintaining tourism revenue, a key element of the Ecuadorian economy, is more important now than ever.

While the northern sector of the Pacific Coast is slowly coming back to life, the rest of the country is operating as normal and tourists can expect no difficulties visiting the Galapagos Islands, the Andean capital of Quito, the Amazon region, and the port city of Guayaquil (the gateway to the Galapagos) or many other parts of the country.

The message from Ecuador is if you really want to help the country rebuild come and visit. This talk will hopefully give you the information you need to plan your visit.

Admission to Globetrotters costs £3 for Members and £6 for Non-members. You do not need to be a member to attend, and they do not sell advanced tickets, so just come on the day to The Church of Scotland, Crown Court, off Russell Street (behind the Fortune Theatre), Covent Garden,WC2B 5EZ. Doors open at 2:15pm and the program starts around 2:30pm with each talk lasting approximately 40 minutes.

About the Speaker: Russell Maddicks is a BBC-trained writer, translator, and journalist. A graduate in Economic and Social History from the University of Hull, England, he has spent the last twenty years traveling, living, and working in South and Central America, most recently as Latin American Regional Specialist for BBC Monitoring.

A fluent Spanish speaker, he has made many extended trips to Ecuador, one of his favourite South American destinations, where he has explored the length and breadth of the country both for work and for pleasure.

He is the author of the Bradt Guide to Venezuela, Culture Smart! guides to Venezuela and Ecuador, and has guides to Cuba, Mexico and Nicaragua scheduled for release in 2016-2017.

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