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OAS Supports II Inter-American Encounter of Owners and Operators of Small Hotels

  September 25, 2014

The II Inter-American Encounter of Owners and Operators of Small Hotels Organized by the Inter-American Network of Owners and Operators of Small Hotels, with the support of the Organization of American States (OAS), concluded today in Quito, Ecuador, with the participation of more than one hundred entrepreneurs from across America.

The meeting was inaugurated by the Minister of Tourism of Ecuador, Sandra Naranjo, who in her speech emphasized the sector’s relevance for her country as a tool for economic and social development. “Our goal is for tourism to be the first source of foreign income after oil,” she added.

The meeting took place weeks after the adoption of the Declaration of Bridgetown in Barbados, during the XXII Inter-American Congress, in which the Ministers and High Authorities on the subject in the region identified priority areas to advance regional cooperation, emphasizing support for micro, small and medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in the tourism sector.

Speaking at the meeting, the OAS Tourism specialist Santiago Noboa stressed the importance of small and medium hotels in the tourism sector in the region. Noboa said according to studies by the OAS in the Andean region "90 percent of the accommodation establishments are small and medium, representing between 60 and 70 percent of the supply of available beds and employ nearly 70 percent of the workforce in the hotel sector, a trend also observed in other sub-regions of the Hemisphere. Hence its importance," he said.

The OAS official also stated that "tourism trends show us that tourists seek to learn about the places they visit , and small hotels are best positioned for this purpose, so it is imperative that all OAS member state governments support this sector." Hotels less than 75 rooms are considered small or medium.

Despite its importance for the sector, the MSMEs of the Americas hotels continue to face major challenges in terms of competitiveness. In response to these challenges, during the two-day meeting participants signed the statutes of the Inter-American Network of Owners and Operators of Small Hotels. The network - established at the first meeting of the Group held in San José, Costa Rica in April 2013 - aims to promote collaboration, the sharing of experiences, innovative solutions and good practices among small and medium-sized lodgings in the Americas.

Participants also discussed various tourism-related issues, in particular those considered critical for small and medium hotels. Areas discussed included e-commerce, the contribution of traditional foods to the identity of small hotels, the importance of associativity and sustainability and good environmental practices.

The OAS' support for the Network is part of project activities executed through the Small Tourism Enterprise Network (STEN) of the Inter-American Collaborative Network funded by the OAS-Canada Cooperation Plan. STEN provides strategic support to tourism MSMEs, and seeks to contribute to enhance their marketability and viability through the delivery of self-sustaining mechanisms that address the need for increased market access, more promotion and communication with the target market, and effective packaging of tourism experiences.

In addition to Tourism Minister Naranjo, the President of the National Federation of Tourism Chambers of Ecuador FENACAPTUR Raul Garcia, and the recently elected President of the Inter-American Network of Owners and Operators of Small Hotels, Nicole Marrder also participated in the event.

More information is available here.

For more information, please visit the OAS Website at

Reference: E-401/14