Quito, with its age-old bullfighting tradition, now loses between $87 million and $125 million a year in revenues from the tourists who once poured in to see the "fiesta brava," but which has almost disappeared following the 2011 national referendum that banned matadors from slaying the bulls.
City councilor of the Metropolitan District and president of the Bullfighting Commission, Marco Ponce, said "there are matadors who want no part of a Portuguese-style bullfight. For them the third part, the killing of the bull, is the most important. Otherwise it's like asking some soccer player like Messi to come play but forbidding him to make any goals...No, thank you!" Ponce told EFE.
"We've lost the honor of having the best bullfighting festivals in the Americas," Ponce said regretfully, for whom the banning of the crowning third part of the "corrida" has turned "aficionados" away while inflicting serious "economic, moral and cultural" damage on the city.
"Some 40,000 Spanish and French tourists once came with their families to the bullfights. They walked around, bought things and generated profits. The last time a study was made we saw a loss of $125 million in the month of December," he said about a report by pro-bullfighting groups and businesses in the sector.
And yet...Ponce harbors the hope that the "fiesta brava" will return to its days of glory in Quito and has asked Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno for another referendum.