Qatari team to finalise Ecuador projects

April 12, 2013 - 4:25:35 am

Freddy Ehlers (left), Ecuador’s Minister of Tourism, and Ambassador Kabalan Abisaab during the press conference at the embassy of Ecuador in Doha, yesterday.  Shaival Dalal

DOHA: The Minister of Tourism of Ecuador, Freddy Arturo Ehlers, has visited Qatar to discuss a total of 17 projects proposed to Qatari authorities. A Qatari delegation is due to travel to Ecuador at the end of May or in the first days of June to finalise some of these joint ventures.

The Ecuadorian delegation travelled to Qatar to promote the Andean country and study partnerships to develop projects in Ecuador in the aviation and hospitality industries, among others. “We have a lot in common,” said the minister at a press conference yesterday. The main product Ecuador exports is oil, followed by bananas, tourism, flowers and shrimp, having also important sales of cocoa which represent around 20 percent of the world trade of this product.

Ehlers highlighted that with Emir H H Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani’s visit to Ecuador in February, “began a beautiful and intense relation between the two countries.” In this context, the minister said that “we can learn from Qatar about developing without losing the traditional heritage, having a combination of the future and the past.” 

The Ecuadorian official referred also to other similarities between the two countries, such as the fact that Ecuador is “free of casinos; we promote ethical and sustainable tourism,” he added. 

In addition, during his stay, the minister met with the Chairman of the Civil Aviation Authority, to discuss the possibility of a direct flight to Quito and sign and aeronautical agreement. With the opening of relations, Ecuador will have a semi-direct flight from Doha, through Sao Paulo (Brazil), where Qatar Airways already flies. The Sao Paulo-Quito leg will be with Tame, the Ecuadorian airline. 

Ecuador and Qatar also addressed the prospect of offering students from Qatar scholarships to study in Ecuador and vice-versa. Striving to foster sustainable social and economic development in Ecuador, Minister Ehlers views education and knowledge as fundamental to fuelling the country’s growth. 

“Qatar and Ecuador are trying to discover projects of mutual interest and to form a close partnership. Like Qatar Foundation, we have a plan to build a university city in Ecuador. This is partly why we wanted to speak with Qatar Foundation representatives about the experience they have had thus far,” explained Ehlers.

“This new city will be for academics and researchers to gather in one place and we really hope that we can work with Qatar Foundation in this endeavour, as our aims are similar. We will undoubtedly create ideas and foster innovative thinking for a new generation,” he stated.

Ehlers also said that Qatar will be starring in an Ecuadorian national television show, namely Ecuador love life. The program will air in approximately three weeks and aims to share Qatar’s sights and friendly peoples. “We have a lot to learn from Qatar about developing modernity without losing the country’s heritage,” stated the Ecuadorian official. 

The Peninsula