As a travel company that has relationships with partners worldwide, it hits home when tragedy strikes a country we love. Ecuador is very much on our minds, after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck on April 16, killing nearly 650 people, damaging an estimated 20,000 buildings and creating a humanitarian crisis that has its people struggling for food, water and medicine.
While our Harper-recommended hotels, all far from the epicenter, were not damaged, they are gathering resources to support those who were directly affected.
Galapagos Safari Camp, located 600 miles to the west of the epicenter, is supporting the Ecuador Earthquake Recovery Fund, through the Generosity.com site. So far they have raised more than $50,000.
The 31-room Casa Gangotena, in Ecuador's capital of Quito, is uniting with leading companies in Ecuador to install a mobile medical clinic, staffed by 20 doctors, in the town of Canoa, near the epicenter.
Hotel Plaza Grande, in Quito, has collaborated with employees who have family in the coastal region of Ecuador to make a donation through the Patronato San Jose Foundation of food, water, medicine and clothing for victims of the earthquake.
Together with its employees, Swissotel, in Quito, is also sending food, water and clothing donations to earthquake victims in Pedernales, through the Patronato San Jose Foundation.
Abercrombie & Kent reports that its Galapagos cruises are operating normally, as are all tours out of Quito and Cuena, Avenue of the Volcanoes, train routes and the Amazon. However, A&K will not be running tours out of Manta, one of the areas affected, until further notice.
A&K is collecting funds from their Philanthropy Office, collected from A&K employees and travel agents, and distributing them through the Red Cross and other organizations.
Tropic Journeys, Ecuador
Tropic Journeys in Nature has created the #LightUpEcuador campaign, which is an initiative to acquire solar lighting and cell phone recharging for the smaller, more rural communities affected by the earthquake. Read more about the solar initiative or visit this donation page to contribute.
Eventually the donations from around the world will cease, and Ecuador will have to rebuild its infrastructure — and its people will have to rebuild their lives. As this process begins, we feel that the best way to support this beautiful, vibrant country is to continue recommending it to our members. After all, the people of Ecuador will need jobs, and tourism will help provide those jobs.
The areas in which Mr. Harper recommends hotels and cruises — the Galapagos, Quito and Cotopaxi National Park — remain undamaged and ready to welcome travelers, and all airports are functioning normally. In light of recent events, we expect that those who do visit Ecuador will receive an especially warm welcome.
If Ecuador is not in your travel plans, please consider supporting its people and economy by purchasing Ecuadorian products like chocolate, roses, coffee, mangoes and handicrafts.