AUTHOR Doris Welsh
AUTHOR Doris Welsh
Small Ship Expedition Company Ecoventura Rolls Out First “Green” Vessel of its Kind in the Galapagos
The visionary, small ship travel company, Ecoventura, announces that one of its fleet of four superior-class motor yachts now sports a new sustainability technology heretofore applied only to small private boats.
Ecoventura’s ERIC becomes the first hybrid energy tour boat in the Galapagos following a $100,000 installation of 40 solar panels and two wind turbines on the upper deck. The work that began in October 2008 also included replacing canvas awnings with a hard fiberglass top for structural support. The goal is for the solar panels and wind powered generators to provide enough power to initially support approximately 17 percent of the energy formerly produced by two carbon fuel-based generators. This project was financed through a partnership with Toyota, a supporter of the World Wildlife Fund. The target goal is to have full fleet implementation by 2011.
“We want to give our passengers the assurance that Ecoventura has taken every measure to ensure that they enjoy a safe, thrilling adventure without harming the unique wildlife or the fragile environment of the Islands. We all live in this world and breath the same air; the least we can do is try to preserve it for our children and the generations to come,” says Santiago Dunn, president and owner of Ecoventura.
“The Galapagos Islands are a fragile and threatened ecosystem. Ecoventura continues to break new ground in responsible tourism in the Galapagos with its new hybrid energy technology. It is the hope that other cruise and tour companies will see the successful results and follow suit,” Dunn says. In summer 2007, UNESCO put the Galapagos on its World Heritage sites risk list, citing alien species and pollution from tourists and immigrants as key issues.
Toyota’s involvement with the Galapagos Islands began in 2001, when the company partnered with the World Wildlife Fund to help conserve the Islands’ unique ecosystem. Toyota has since supported and/or funded many projects and programs in the Galapagos Islands. These include a redesign of the main fuel-handling facility on Baltra, renewable- energy teacher education workshops, oil and municipal recycling programs and the refitting of Ecoventura’s expedition touring yacht, Eric with solar panels and wind turbines. Community education and outreach have been key components of all projects.
About Ecoventura: Ecoventura is a family-owned company based in Guayaquil, Ecuador, with sales offices in Quito and Miami. In operation since 1990, the cruise company transports 4,000+ passengers annually aboard a fleet of three expedition vessels; identical, superior first-class 20-passenger motor yachts with 10 double cabins. The company also operates the Galapagos Sky, a 16-passenger dedicated dive live-aboard offering 7-night weekly itineraries visiting the northern islands of Wolf and Darwin. All of its vessels have been purposefully retrofitted to meet or exceed the highest possible environmental standards.
To reserve a cabin or private charter, please call toll-free 1.800.644.7972, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. To access current rates, schedules and itineraries you can log onto www.ecoventura.com/.
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Editor’s note: On Nov. 12, 2008, at a ceremony hosted at World Travel Market in London, Ecoventura was awarded with the Virgin Holidays Responsible Tourism Award for Best in a Marine Environment, one of 13 overall categories. Distinguished judges noted that Ecoventura contributes to scholarships for education and helps local women develop micro-businesses. Ecoventura was also recognized to be among the first cruise operators to be independently environmentally audited. The award was presented to Santiago Dunn by Justin Francis, managing director of responsibletravel.com, organizers and founders of the Awards and by Amanda Wills, managing director of Virgin Holidays, headline sponsor. In accepting his award, Dunn stated, “We as a company are both humbled and energized by this prestigious award. It is wonderful to be recognized for our past efforts, but our groundbreaking work on setting the bar for responsible tourism in Galapagos has just begun.”
Ecoventura reduces carbon emissions in 2008
In 2006, Ecoventura became the first company in Galapagos to offset carbon emissions. The company was successful this past year in reducing total emissions by 10% and currently offsets 4000 short tons of carbon-based emissions per year through clean energy credits purchased through Native Energy.