CONSERVATION IN GALAPAGOS

Why Sustainable Travel Matters

AUTHOR Caroline Eaton

In the search for your next vacation, what do you look for? Is price your number one concern? Location? Weather? How high does the importance of traveling sustainably rank on your list of priorities when searching for an activity or tour company?

Galapagos Islands, Sea Lions on Beach, San Cristobal

Why Sustainable Travel Should Matter to You

Sustainable travel isn’t only about nature, it’s also about supporting the economic and cultural aspect of travel. Obviously the environment is a big part of the Galapagos, and protecting these resources for future generations is vital to the survival of the islands, but it isn’t the only component that we focus on.

As a destination becomes more popular with tourists, the destination sees both a positive and negative impact. We aim to always support the positive while minimizing the negative. By encouraging sustainable travel, jobs are created, standards of living increase, and the correct programs are set in motion that protect the land, culture and people, while building resources that will help maintain responsible tourism for future generations.

On the other hand tourism can bring negative impacts such as foreign-owned companies, overfishing and deterioration of nature due to lack of regulation. Litter and sewage becomes tough to manage as growth occurs too quickly, and locals who were once self-sufficient rely on others for jobs around tourism.

Galapagos Islands, View on Leon Dormido, Island of Espanola

We are proud to be the first tour operator to meet 100% of the critical criteria in the Rainforest Alliance verification standard

Ecoventura was recently recognized as the first tour operator to meet 100% of the critical criteria in the Rainforest Alliance verification standard for tourism services. The critical criteria are areas of high importance for sustainability that every company must fully comply with before being recognized by the program. Meeting these criteria provides a guarantee for our guests that we have accomplished, among others, the following achievements:

1. Established a formal and reliable system that ensures the physical integrity of the persons involved in the business’ management and services.

2. Defined and implemented concrete actions to:

– guarantee the labor rights and emotional and physical well-being of collaborators

– prevent any kind of discrimination

– avoid all types of child exploitation

– ensure respect for the customs, cultures and other sociocultural manifestations of its community.

3. Demonstrated a solid commitment to the rational use of water, biodiversity conservation and the prevention of natural resource pollution.

In 2000, Ecoventura became the first recipient of SmartVoyager, a voluntary environmental program developed byThe Rainforest Alliance. In order to comply with SmartVoyager, our yachts had to meet a strict set of conservation and social standards that were designed by scientists and conservation experts based on principals to conserve natural ecosystems, reduction of negative impacts on the environment, risk of introduction and extraction of species and conservation of Native species, just and fair treatment of workers, among other. All yachts produce their own fresh water through reverse osmosis desalinization units, and use only four stroke outboard engines on the Zodiacs. Four stroke engines are 70% quieter, emit virtually no fumes and consume 50% less fuel than two-stroke engines.

Galapagos Islands,  Along Harbor, Puerto Baquerizo Morena

What does this mean for you?

It means as a company we don’t only talk about the importance of sustainable travel, we walk the walk. We strongly believe in the importance of conserving our ecosystem, so that when you visit, you aren’t only getting to experience all that the archipelago has to offer, but you can rest assured that we have taken the steps for you to ensure that your trip is leaving a the smallest footprint possible.

It also means that in the future we encourage you to reserach the companies and destinations you travel through and actively seek out companies who promote sustainable travel and take pride in their local cultures, people and environment.

During your next trip:

  1. Make an effort to learn about the  natural and cultural history of the destination you’re visiting. Find out what makes that city special and locals unique.
  2. Connect with the locals. Spend time getting to know them, sitting with them at local coffee shops, or spending the evening with your local guesthouse owner.
  3. Respect local rules and customs.
  4. Seek out hotels, tour operators and other travel companies who support sustainable tourism

What is your best tip to travel sustainably?

photo credit: Joanne Dibona