As part of efforts to promote tourism, the government of Ecuador held a special presentation of “The Royal Tour” documentary hosted by U.S. journalist Peter Greenberg and Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa.
The program had its international premiere in April in the United States, but Ecuador was unfortunately rocked by a 7.8 earthquake shortly after its release, limiting the positive impact on tourism the government was expecting.
The earthquake affected much of the Ecuadorean coast, causing severe damage to many towns and cities that depend heavily on tourism. The tourism sector is the third non-oil source of income in the Andean country.
The earthquake left 670 people dead and caused billions in damage.
Even regions that were unaffected by the quake have seen a dip in visitors, with both domestic and international travelers opting to change their plans.
Greenberg said he and his team were ready to do their part to help the affected regions get back on their feet. He added that many of the crew returned the Ecuador after the earthquake to lend a hand with recovery efforts.
During the special presentation on Wednesday in Guayaquil, President Correa said that “the best way to honor our 670 people dead is by boosting tourism.”
Greenberg, who also participated in the Ecuadorean premiere, told the assembled crowd, “I’m honored to present this fantastic country to the world. I’m an Ecuadorean tonight.”
The one-hour program opens with a brief interview with Correa, in English, where the president details his love for his country and his efforts as head of state to address poverty and inequality in Ecuador.
The remainder of the program tours features a personal tour by President Correa throughout the Coast, Highlands, Amazon and Galapagos Islands.
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In an interview with El Telegrafo, Greenberg said that his production company does not accept money from government entities to produce “The Royal Tour.”
“We don't do a country's propaganda, I don't promote Ecuador, I only show it … This government did not have any influence over my documentary,” said Greenberg.
The U.S. journalist said the crew maintained a grueling schedule during filming, working 20 hours a day. He added that he hoped the program would serve to boost tourism to Ecuador.
Though much of the Ecuadorean coast was damaged by the quake, the remainder of the country, including the Andes, Amazon, Galapagos Islands, and portions of the coast were virtually unaffected and are ready to welcome tourists.