It’s a commonly held assertion that tourism is bad for the environment, and nowhere must this be more the case than in the Galapagos Islands. A pristine natural environment that went untouched by man until they’re accidental discovery in the 16th century, ever since it has been a perceived long spiral of destruction and damage to the natural world.
Reports across the world over the last few years have decried the irreparable damage done by tourists to the islands. Reports such as those in The Guardian, a leading UK paper, which ran with the headline ‘Galapagos menaced by tourist invasion’.
It seems to make a lot of sense. Tourists flock to Galapagos Islands vacations from all over the world. Inspired by tales and images of stunning natural beauty and truly unique wildlife, around 170,000 people visit each year. That’s 170,000 more people than would be there otherwise, complete with all their waste, by-products, consumption and sheer physical presence.
However, just because something seems like it should be true it doesn’t necessarily make it the case. Yes, of course the islands need preserving in all their glory for future generations and managing this amount of people each year certainly presents challenges. But the presence of tourists on Galapagos Islands vacations could actually be a good thing or, at the very least, neutral.
The Galapagos Conservation Trust (GCT), one of the main bodies behind looking after the environment on the islands, knows that tourism is an inevitability and is making moves toward using its power for good. People will always want to visit, so rather than focus on trying to restrict access, the GCT has moved towards encouraging tourists to be more responsible.
The Galapagos had been added to the UNESCO World Heritage in Danger list in 2007 for three main reasons: uncontrolled increases in tourism, population and invasive species (all related to tourism). However, the islands were removed from the list in 2009 thanks to efforts to address these issues.
The GCT, along with the World Wildlife Fund and Galapagos National Park, have been working on creating a new model for eco-tourism to ensure that future tourism to the islands is sustainable and managed effectively. They have created a report and urge that anyone planning on taking Galapagos Islands vacations should read it first.
Galapagos Islands vacations on board a cruise like the M/C Endemic are so stunning and unique that keeping people away is no longer an option in the modern world. However, with an increased emphasis on sustainable tourism, the negative effects of tourism can be limited while the capital and exposure these tourists bring to the islands can be maintained. This is definitely something to think about when planning your own Galapagos custom vacations.
Contact Us today so we can offer you the most sustainable and enviromental friendly cruises to enjoy the marvels of the Galapagos and support the local Autorithies on the task of mantaining the fragile Eco-system of Islands.
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