Ecuador hopes consumers will go bananas for the country.
The South American nation has teamed up with a U.S.-based advertising firm in an effort to draw more tourists to the country by using a marketing strategy it hopes will “a-peel” to tech savvy travelers. As the worldwide leader in exporting bananas – shipping about 24 million tons a year – Ecuador’s tourism ministry has put a QR code on the sticker placed on every single banana export.
Before peeling the fruit, customers can scan the code with their phones and will be transported to a video that highlights different tourist spots in the country – from pristine beaches to lush tropical forests. The country is hoping that their banana bonanza – the country exports bananas through Dole, Chiquita, Del Monte and Noboa – will translate into more foreign flights arriving from abroad into places like Quito and Guayaquil.
While promoting a country through its biggest edible export may be a new thing, turning a country (or territory) into a brand is nothing new.
A few years ago, Peruvian officials attempted to turn the country’s tourist spots and newfound culinary fame into a draw for foreign visitors.
"It’s not about just making a National Geographic type spot, but rather a lifestyle. I do not think that people travel to eat, a small group maybe, but not a mass audience, you need something more, food is a plus,” Max Gutierrez, CEO of McCann Peru told the website Peru This Week.
Ecuador is not the only country using bananas to promote tourism.
Puerto Rico’s Gov. Alejandro Padilla recently signed into law a bill to establish Brand Puerto Rico, which aims to promote tourism in the U.S.-held Caribbean territory.
“Our country brand will mean economic development, global positioning and investment. Our country brand will exceed any publicity campaign because it’s about a distinctive aspect of identity,” Padilla said, according to El Nuevo Dia.