Quito has been revealed as the host for Routes Americas 2018.
The Ecuadorian capital will be the venue for the air service development forum from February 13-15 and will be hosted by Quito Tourism and Quiport, which runs Quito International Airport.
Following the success of this year’s event in Las Vegas, which was attended by 830 delegates from 100 airlines, 260 airports and 40 tourism authorities, organisers are confident that the numbers will remain similar next year.
Quiport president and chief executive Andrew O’Brian said: “Organising Routes Americas in Quito will be an invaluable opportunity to show the potential of this city as a top destination on a regional scale and the advantages offered by its airport to the airline industry.
“For Quiport, participating in Routes Americas has been a very important tool for our route development strategy.
“Quito and Ecuador offer a new world yet to be discovered.”
Routes brand director Steven Small added: “Ecuador is an exciting ‘bucket list’ destination and its capital is rich in history and culture. Quito will make an excellent host city for Routes Americas.”
Quito was founded in the 16th century by Spanish settlers and its colonial centre was of the first World Cultural Heritage Sites to be declared by UNESCO in 1978.
Ecuador is one of only 17 megadiverse countries in the world due to its rich ecology and is also the home of the Galapagos Islands, which are a two-hour flight from the capital.
The announcement was made at Routes Americas 2017 in Las Vegas, which has seen 2,700 networking meetings held.
Speaking at a press conference, Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority president and chief executive Rossi Ralenkotter said the event remained a vital part of the city’s strategy in route development.
“We have 150,000 rooms that we need to fill every single night,” he added. “We need to bring people in domestically and internationally and airline interest is a critical part of that.”
Ralenkotter added international visitors make up 16% of total visitor numbers with Mexico, Canada and the UK being the three biggest markets.
He said while the city would continue to value these markets, officials were confident that new markets like Japan, China and Australia would drive further growth.
Ralenkotter said: “These are areas were we need to continually educate people about what Las Vegas has to offer.
“We believe that if you have a non-stop flight it increases the demand and the entire globe is really our market.”
Clark County department of aviation chief marketing officer Chris Jones added a new twice-weekly route to Beijing operated by Hainan Airlines could help kick start the Asian market.
He said: “That’s one more great reason to bring all these international decision makers here.”