CONSERVATION IN GALAPAGOS

Conde Nast Traveler names Ecoventura best overall cruise Line at the 3rd Annual World Savers Congress 2009

AUTHOR Doris Welsh

conde_nast_awardNEW YORK, September 21, 2009 – At the Morgan Library & Museum in New York City, Ecoventura was awarded with the Conde Nast Traveler’s 3rd Annual World Savers Award in the category of Best Overall Cruise Lines. On hand to accept the award was Santiago Dunn, Ecoventura president. This award recognizes Ecoventura’s ongoing mission to be the pacesetter for responsible tourism in the Galapagos Islands.

The day of conversation about corporate responsibility, and to celebrate travel industry leaders who are making a difference drew well over 200 CEOs of major travel industry companies.

“It’s wonderful to be recognized for our past efforts but our groundbreaking work on setting the bar for responsible tourism in the Galapagos has just begun,” reflected Dunn. He has been instrumental in addressing a variety of environmental issues that have put the Galapagos on UNESCO’s World Heritage sites at risk list in 2007, citing the introduction of alien species and the negative impact of growing tourism and immigration as key problems.

“Ironically,” said Dunn, “booming tourism in the Galapagos has added to the challenges and problems faced by those looking to restore and protect the island’s native species and ecological balance.”

Ecoventura’s focus on ameliorating conditions in the Galapagos yielded the company the highest score of 90 points in the category of Cruise Line from the panel of judges. The company was noted as outstanding in four distinct areas:

*Education: For granting scholarships to Ecuadorian students interested in environmental and marine conservation.

*Poverty: For funding a micro-enterprise for fishermen’s wives helping convert a boat into a restaurant & boutique.

*Preservation: For operating the first hybrid power yacht in the Galapagos with solar panels & wind turbines that reduced carbon emissions by 10%.

*Health: Paying the salaries of physical therapists and sign-language teachers at a school in Galapagos.

CNT honors travel companies from around the world for their leadership in social responsibility in five key areas: poverty alleviation, cultural and/or environmental preservation, education programs, wildlife conservation and health initiatives. The magazine’s panel of 21 judges represented academics, CEOs and philanthropists.

“Despite these challenging economic times, corporate social responsibility is as important as ever,” CNT Editor-in-Chief Klara Glowczewska said. “The travel industry is on track to generate $7.3 trillion in revenue this year—a number that represents an enormous opportunity to improve our planet, and our World Savers Awards recognize those companies turning that potential into a reality.”

World Savers Awards Methodology: To determine the award finalists and winners, Condé Nast Traveler editors reviewed over 100 applications and narrowed them to 36 finalists. An independent panel of 20 judges, comprised of leaders from the travel industry and non-governmental organizations, rated how applicants exercised social responsibility in 5 key areas: poverty alleviation, cultural and/or environmental preservation, education programs, wildlife conservation, and health initiatives.  There were eight categories of travel company: small hotel chains, large hotel chains, city hotels, small lodges and resorts, large lodges and resorts, tour operators, cruise lines and airlines.  This year judges also looked at overall scores, to give credit to companies with admirable programs in a number of areas.