Why Riobamba is not a tourist destination?

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With Tourism Operations Management students of the “IST Riobamba» analized and read the paper “El turista cultura: tipología y análisis de las valoraciones del destino a partir del caso de estudio de Cuenca-Ecuador”, of Prada, Armijos, Crespo and Torres (2019), which was published in Pasos Magazine. Students were interested about the cultural tourism development in Cuenca, regreting that Riobamba has not had the same level about those type of visits.

After reading, we discussed about why Riobamba could not have the same “turistización” like Cuenca. We compared the immaterial tourist attractions in two cities like the Easter parties, the child passes or Corpus Christi; as well as their gastronomy: roast pork and guinea pig, “fanesca” and bakery, and the conclusion was that there are not substantial differences. The big variance is that Cuenca´s people have known how to exploit and maximize their attractions, while the Riobamba´s people have made it less or they have not done it.

According to Juan Parco, the Tourism Operations Management carrier’s coordinator of  ISTR, Riobamba´s traditional families and citizens have abandoned their city, Parco says that “they leave to make homeland in others cities”. Under his view, we can understand how Riobamba´s historical center is inhabited with “typical riobambeño”, conversely it is occupied for other people that have come from cantons or towns near to Riobamba.

They are the new “riobambeños», but we have to return to the principal point, our academic interest was the relationship between satisfaction and loyalty that generate a tourist destination. About Cuenca, the investigation shows that the 45% of tourist has been there almost one time, and the 94% of they are sure that they will go there again. That is to say, there is a high satisfaction about their experience, that is the prove that Cuenca has generated very fidelity from their visitors.  On the other hand, Riobamba has not gotten any investigation about this topic, the principal reason is that this city has not gotten lots of tourist people visiting the place.

Prada and others authors analyzed seven items valued by tourists in Cuenca: aspect of the city, population´s attitude, price valuation, security, degree of tourism, customer service and travel qualification.

Facing that, the most correlated items in the crossing of variables are two: aspect of the city and population´s attitude. And, the students were interested a lot of these two items and one more: customer service by tour operators.

The student´s customer support interesting was linked to their experience when, starting the semester, I asked for a homework asking how many heritage assets exist in Riobamba´s representative institutions, as soon as their heritage archives. It is not the place to talk about the institutions or public workers, but it is important to say that their answers were not like the professional tour operator might offer to tourist and citizens. However, their customer service was like a white landowner to a commoner worker of a farm. Just for coming a local institution´s student and not the ideal type of Anglo-Saxon tourist!

The IST Riobamba student´s perception about Riobamba is that “it is a city of passage”, their principal historical buildings have turned to “public urinals”, their streets “are full of garbage”, and so on. It is too bad to the principal’s’ items of tourism: aspect of the city and population´s attitude.

It is a wakeup call for to the competent authorities of Chimborazo´s tourism and heritage. They must attend first, encourage research on tourism in these province. Second, apply public tourism policies to improve customer service, aspect and attitude on its population to national and international visitors. Finally, attract private investment from tourism operation companies.

There are so much points to analyze and work in the future, for this reason we are theorizing and researching at the “Instituto Superior Tecnológico Riobamba”, but it is too alarming that the authorities and families in Chimborazo had permitted that the “city of the first-fruits” had fallen in two items to improve the tourism, but be careful, it´s important to save all aspects in the city, here are only the first two steps.

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