We are an active member of the International Galapagos Tour Operators Association, (IGTOA). In 2006, together we launched a traveler-fundraising program. As of 2012, our travelers have raised over $85,000 for Galapagos conservation projects. Funds are allocated to projects sponsored or recommended by partner organizations, such as WildAid, Charles Darwin Foundation, Rainforest Alliance, and, Galapagos Chamber of Tourism (CAPTURGAL), AGIPA (Galapagos Guides Association), and other Galapagos community-based organizations, such as schools and foundations. These projects range from introduced species control to community education programs. This program is designed not only to fund conservation efforts, but to educate all our travelers on the importance of protecting the Galapagos. Each traveler is supplied with the following information:
1.Detailed pamphlet on the challenges facing the Galapagos (including the role of tourism in the islands), why their donations are so important, and how travelers can be part of the solution. 2. Access to online information – further details about specific programs their contributions will be supporting 3. Inspection and Quarantine regulations for the Galapagos Islands, regulated by SICGAL 4. Dos and Don’ts of responsible travel 5. DVD/mini-documentary on issues of Galapagos survival
We work hard to give back to the places and people that have inspired our company from the very start. This means that each component of your trip has been researched and chosen to support this commitment.
In the Amazon, we joined Rainforest Alliance for the “Conservation Alliances for Economic Viability.” The goals of this USAID approved project includes the preservation of at least 200,000 hectares of Amazonian rainforest in Ecuador -- combined with training and technical assistance to five community-owned lodges located in or adjacent to protected areas. The focus is on reducing negative impacts associated with tourism -- and revaluating the most successful & practical practices of responsible tourism. Sustainable travel can be a strong player in not only maintaining areas already protected -- but also by expanding preservation into additional regions where the biodiversity and traditional local culture is threatened. The lodges participating in this program are located in the Yasuni Reserve, an area that is under constant threat from the oil industry as well as palm plantations.
The indigenous communities involved are looking to ecotourism as an alternative to big oil, and find a sustainable means by which the communities can receive an income while maintaining the integrity of their culture and conserving their rainforest territory. As a tour operator, our role is to provide direction and insight to help the lodges be both sustainable and responsible and find economic successes.