In order to promote internal tourism in Ecuador, the Ecuadorian Ministry of Tourism and Transportation asked Maruri GREY to develop a campaign that would prove that Ecuador is a top tourist destination.The country has everything to offer tourists, yet Ecuadorians choose to travel elsewhere and rarely travel inside their own country. Maruri GREY’s challenge was to cause a change of perception among Ecuadorian tourists and convince them about Ecuador’s beauties.
They invited a group of 40 travellers to an exotic destination in “Golfito, Costa Rica.” They simulated a long journey but actually landed in the Tena’s airport in Ecuador. They made sure that they thought they were actually in Costa Rica. They disguised the airport, used Costa Rican immigration cards, set up souvenir shops and Costa Rican car plates and traffic signs. The travellers had a great time rafting and bathing in the river. On their back to the airport, they revealed where they actually were and told them they had never left the country.
They published the story right before a national holiday and received 19 MILLION MEDIA IMPRESSIONS and 1480 MEDIA PLACEMENTS including coverage from CNN, Yahoo News and Mashable. Sales for domestic flights rose by 17% as compared to last year’s holiday. Routes to Manta and Esmeraldas sold out days after they released the story. The campaign even provoked a minor diplomatic argument between Costa Rica and Ecuador which was quickly solved. Finally, every traveller chose to stay in Ecuador for the Holiday, proving the experiential campaign successful.