Volume 2: Issue 3 June 2004 Applied Research Note 3

Fostering Environmentally Sustainable Tourism, Small Business Innovation and Growth in the Galapagos

by Jose Valdivieso (Co-Director of Conservación y Desarrollo (C&D)), Bob Toth, James Hanna, & Juan Quintero

Increased tourism pressure in the Galapagos required more effective management practices that focused on the tourists and the 60 tour boats that shuttle them among the islands. With support from a World Bank loan voluntary consensus standards were established that apply rigorous conservation practices to the boats and their clients. Tour boats that comply with the standards are certified which enables tourists, their travel agents, and tour operators to make informed, “green” choices. During standards development stakeholders expanded the scope beyond conservation to include safety and health, socioeconomic welfare, and quality of life of the crews, their families, and the Galapagos Island Community — all of the elements of a true sustainable tourism program. This effort has yielded significant return on investment in protecting natural and human capital and the competitiveness of Ecuador’s tourism industry.

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