BEIJING – Shanghai-based China Eastern airlines has reached an agreement with the government of Ecuador under which the Latin American country will export cut roses to China in time for Valentine’s Day in February.
The terms of the deal were reached after the success of a similar campaign on the occasion of “Chinese Valentine’s Day” on Aug. 2.
Gabriela Vallejo, head of ProEcuador’s Office in Shanghai, told Efe that the airline transported 12,000 roses from Ecuador to China for “Chinese Valentine’s Day” and confirmed that another such shipment will take place in time for the Feb. 14 holiday.
In addition, China Eastern has expressed an interest in buying flowers on a monthly basis from 2015 onwards, but is still awaiting further details from the company.
For ProEcuador, an organization in charge of promoting tourism, investments and exports from Ecuador, this initiative could also facilitate regular direct flights between the two countries.
No such flights exist at present, a major obstacle to the growth of Chinese tourism in Ecuador.
“We are in discussions with them. They too have shown a lot of interest in creating a direct route for flights,” Vallejo told Efe, after speaking with the airline’s logistics chief.
With the aim of increasing Chinese tourist influx, ProEcuador participated in an event last month organized in Shanghai by Ecuador’s official tourism agency, Surtrek.
Every week, the organization has highlighted “special” places of tourist interest in their country, such as the Galapagos Islands, places for bird-watching, luxury train cruises and special locations for honeymoon trips.
Over a hundred people attended these events, all of whom had a chance to win a trip to the Latin American country.
“They also displayed photographs of Ecuador taken by a Chinese artist, which the public found quite moving,” said Vallejo, while adding that such events are necessary “to promote knowledge about the country,” which is relatively unknown in China.
“The people have traveled quite a bit to Europe, but they still do not have much information about other places, like Ecuador,” she emphasized.
To encourage tourists, Vallejo said Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa’s government is speeding up paperwork and easing up on requirements so that the Chinese people can easily get a tourist visa to the South American country.
ProEcuador also promotes products that can be sent by air, as exemplified by the recent shipments of roses.
“It was easy and very beautiful. They wanted something special and we were able to give it to them,” Vallejo remarked.