The Daily Brief – Ecuador Tourism – The Port City of Manta
The FITE Tourism extravaganza wound its way to the port city of Manta, in an ongoing display of the strength of the tourism industry in Ecuador. Manta is a vibrant city situated in the Province of Manabí, smack dab in the center of Ecuador’s coast. Manta is the largest coastal city in Ecuador and the region is known as the epicenter of cultural cuisine for this Andes nation.
At first glance, Manta does not seem a prime candidate for the tourism market. This port city arose to prominence based on the tuna industry. Considered by many to be the “Tuna Capitol of the World”, Manta’s vibrant tuna industry encompasses all aspect from fishing, to processing, to canning and, ultimately, product export. Tuna is truly “king” in Manta.
However, despite an industrial economic focus and a feel not too distinct from a “tropical version of Baltimore”, Manta has wisely turned its unique port location into a central stopping point for the cruise industry, thus bringing thousands and thousands of sea-faring tourists to the shores of Manta. Upon arrival, they are met with 12 distinct beaches catering to the tourism market, with the likely two best known being Playa El Murciélago and Playa Barbasquillo. Additionally, visitors are immediately met by the aforementioned gastronomic bounty, embodied by the seafood havens of El Parque de Mariscos (literally, the Seafood Park) and the Malecón de Escénico, two ideal clusters of oceanside eateries, where the freshest seafood is always at the ready, to tempt your palate.
With the stated goal of Jorge Orley Zambrano Cedeño, Mayor of this city (numbering more than 250,000 inhabitants), being to push forth and evolve the tourism industry in Manta, the city has chosen to focus on developing its tourism infrastructure. Evidence of the preceding can be found in Mantas diverse hotel industry, which boasts a capacity to host 5,000 guests per night, in hotels ranging from “big city chic” to “oceanside bungalow”. Trading on a tourism slogan “Manta se queda en ti…” (Manta stays with you), the city continues to facilitate both short-term and long-term stays for visitors looking to partake of the unique multicultural aspects of the region.
While candidly, it is our belief that Manta is best suited to evolve along the lines of “Ecuador’s coastal commerce capitol”, rather than a resort “hot spot”, the headway it has made in enhancing its tourism image should be recognized for the successes achieved.