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  1. Leaders in Luxury
March 16, 2011updated Jan 15, 2013

Freddy Ehlers

By Chris Boyle

Freddy Ehlers

Minister of Tourism

In Ecuador, Freddy Ehlers is a top television personality, his country’s equivalent of Oprah Winfrey. As he is also politician who has run for President, the Latin America country recently decided to tap Ehlers charisma and passion to sell Ecuador to the international travel market as Minister of Tourism. Elite Traveler Editor-in-Chief Douglas Gollan caught up with Ehlers during the ITB Travel Show in Berlin, where Ehlers made his pitch on why elite travelers should hop their private jets to his country.

ET: What does Ecuador offer elite travelers?

Freddy Ehlers: We say Ecuador is like the laboratory of the world and it is the summit of the world. We say, visit all of Latin America in seven days in just one country. There are four distinct regions. We have the world treasure of the Galapagos Islands, we have the beautiful Pacific Coast, we have the Andes Mountains, and we have the Amazon rain forest. UNESCO has classified Ecuador as “megadiverse” because of our incredible variety of birds, mammals and flowers. In terms of cities, Quito and Cuenca both have UNESCO World Heritage sites, while Guayaquil is our largest city and it has a beautiful boardwalk, restaurants and shopping.

ET: What’s Ecuadorian cuisine like?

Freddy Ehlers: The variety of Ecuador is the most diverse in the world and so is our cuisine. Our location on the Pacific means we have amazing seafood, we have the ingredients of the Incas, the corns and grains. Ecuadorian chef Santiago Chamorro just won the award for Best Chef Cookbook at the World Cookbook Awards in Paris.

ET: Are there any other surprises for visitors to Ecuador?

Freddy Ehlers: We are famous for flowers. The roses that go to the White House and Kremlin are from Ecuador. We have the best chocolate because we have the highest quality cocoa.

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ET: Do you think Ecuador is going to be a hot spot for Elite Travelers?

Freddy Ehlers: Well, we have the closest point on the planet to the sun, so you could say that. Seriously, more and more important people, including Hollywood actors and world leaders, are coming to Ecuador. Love Life Ecuador is our campaign slogan. I always say if John Lennon had come to Ecuador he would have made a song. We want to welcome each visitor who wants to come!

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