Quito, Ecuador — The economy in Ecuador is facing its biggest downturn since the country’s civil war ended in 1990, according to government figures.
The latest national data shows a drop in tourism, with more than 8.5 million tourists visiting Ecuador in the first quarter of this year, compared with 6.6 million in the same period last year.
That compares with a 4.3 million increase in the previous year, but falls short of forecasts of a 20% surge.
Ecuador Tourism Minister Juan Guzman told reporters Tuesday that the economy is now suffering because of the floods.
“We have to do more, we have to develop,” he said.
Guzman said the government is also considering more than 1,000 new jobs and spending $2.4 billion on infrastructure to help rebuild.
He also said the country has received more than $1 billion in international aid for disaster relief efforts.
The money is aimed at helping the people of the country recover.
Ecuadorian Prime Minister Rafael Correa said he was grateful for the aid and pledged to help other countries recover as well.
Tourism in Ecuador was once one of the most popular tourist destinations in Latin America.
The country hosted a record 5.5 billion visitors last year, accounting for more than half of the world’s tourist arrivals.
But the government has been struggling with a shrinking economy and a shrinking workforce.
In recent years, the country had a growing number of tourists but was facing a shrinking labor force as many of the young people left to join the war against the leftist President Evo Morales.