The imagination associated with the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador is a pristine, untasted, yet scenic landscape, which is isolated from much of the universe ‘s population. As a consequence of this, the alone Galapagos Islands have late experienced an copiousness of growing in the tourer industry. With a delicate environment and low quality of life for occupants, does the tourer industry produce worthwhile benefits for the Galapagos Islands? It is good known that the chief drive force in the Galapagos Islands economic system is touristry and ecotourism. Tourism is frequently defined as a combination of diversion and concern, which benefits larger owned tourer companies instead than the local economic systems ( Smith 1988:181 ) . In contrast, ecotourism is defined by The World Conservation Union ( IUCN ) and the Ecotourism Society as “ responsible travel to natural countries that conserves the environment and sustains the wellbeing of local people, ” ( Taylor, et Al. 2003:977 ) . I am traveling to research the deductions of ecotourist industry every bit good as its impacts on island occupants and the vulnerable environmental conditions, both of which are being exploited in order to run into the desires tourer companies.

In this paper I will reason that the ecotourist industry in the Galapagos Islands does non supply the good impacts that ecotourism claims to bring forth. I will make this first by discoursing how the money produced by ecotourism is being used. Second, I will show how the quickly turning population is linked to the tourer industry. Third, I will turn out that both the human population and environment are enduring at cost of the

touristry industry, and I will so look at Puerto Villamil, Isabela Island as a instance survey.

Personal Experience

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With the Galapagos Islands holding an international repute of being a premier location for environmental and biological research, I chose this stray location to take my class 12 biological science recognition with Blyth Education, an academy located in business district Toronto that offers international summer plans to high school pupils finishing class 11 and 12 high school credits. I attended this trip in the summer of 2009, along with 30 pupils and 3 instructors. We travelled throughout Ecuador ; researching Quito, the Ecuadorian Amazon, the Andes, and the Galapagos Islands. The contentions between the developing economic system of the Galapagos Islands and the desire to conserve the delicate ecosystems were brought to my attending as we stayed in Peurto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island. We spent the bulk of our yearss merely outside of our little hotel, walking along the beautiful boardwalk that coasted the shoreline. It was non until the twenty-four hours we ventured into the deepness of the island, to volunteer at the local pre-school, that I noticed that a universe of poorness was hidden, rather literally, behind the surface of the island. This made me recognize that there are two major issues that are present in the Galapagos Islands that wholly contradict each other ; the first being utmost poorness and the demand for development in order for island occupants to keep a sustainable criterion of life, and the 2nd being the desire of scientists to continue the evidentially delicate ecosystems and environment. This is what sparked my involvement in how this alleged “ good ” ecotourism was impacting the occupants of these privy islands.

Research and Analysis

An Economic Point of view

A survey conducted by Taylor, Dryer, and Stewart ( 2003 ) observed some defects of the claimed IUCN definition of “ ecotourism ” happening in the Galapagos Islands. As it turns out, really small of local economic system is stimulated by touristry. Taylor et Al. ( 2003 ) claim that there was a failure to separate ecotourism from other sorts of touristry, because ecotourism, under the definition of IUCN, should profit the wellbeing of the local occupants.

The overall growing of the Galapagos ‘ economic system has boomed since the tourer industry has taken off. In a survey conducted by Taylor, Hardner, and Stewart ( 2009 ) , they conclude that their “ findings indicate that the entire income ( that is, the gross domestic merchandise ) of the Galapagos increased by an estimated 78 per cent between 1999 and 2005, doing the Galapagos economic system among the fastest growth in the universe. Tourism continued by far and off the major driver of economic growing. ” ( 2009:139 ) . If this is the instance, so why is so small of this money being generated back into the local economic system? After all, the claimed focal point of recent preservation policies in the Galapagos Islands is to return economic benefits, that are created by ecotourism, back into the local population. The recent tendency in touristry is to buy a tourer bundle, which allows vacationists to hold their trips planned for them. In fact, “ merely 7.6 per cent of the mean cost of trips to the Galapagos was spent on the islands ( e.g. , in hotels, eating houses, souvenir stores, etc. ) . ” ( 2009:140 ) . Due to the greater accent on tourer bundles towards mainland Ecuadorian owned sail ships, this sector of touristry became increasingly more profitable, go forthing less of a net income portion to the islands. “ As the Galapagos sail ship sector becomes progressively capitalized, a turning portion of positions is owned by outside investors. ” ( 2009:143 ) . Approximately 90 % of the income generated by touristry of the Galapagos Islands is absorbed by air hoses and sail ships, go forthing really small economic benefit to bring forth the islands ‘ local economic system. ( Taylor et al. 2003 ) . These off-island concerns create escape ( net incomes that return to the concerns ) , hence switching the economic growing effects of Galapagos touristry to mainland Ecuador.

Although the overall economic growing in the Galapagos has been important, the deductions of ecotourism has non been met in the sense that money from the tourer industry is non happening its manner into the local economic system as it should be. The big company owned air hoses and cruise ships are decreasing tourer disbursements on the islands themselves. Therefore the local economic system is non profiting as it would if tourers decided to remain in a household owned hotel, instead than a mainland Ecuadorian sail ship.

Population Growth and Tourism

Since the tourer industry in the Galapagos Islands has grown significantly between 1999 and 2005, the work force has besides been turning due to sudden demand for miscellaneous occupations in tourer related concerns. Despite the fact that 97 % of the Galapagos ‘ land is National Park position, over the past 10 old ages the population as more than doubled. ( Taylor et al. 2003 ) . There are beliing statements debating the positive and negative effects of the turning population on the saving of the islands.

A instance survey conducted by Sandy A. Kerr ( 2005 ) views this population growing as a positive factor for the islands ‘ economic system and a representation of sustainable development. Taylor, Dyer, and Stewart ( 2003 ) do non see the migration of people from Ecuador ‘s mainland to the Galapagos Islands as a positive factor, which is how Kerr ( 2005 ) saw it to be. They argue that environmental debasement is linked to population growing, which is turning along with the economic system. Migrants are traveling to the Islands to happen occupations in the touristry concern. The migration is so big that an estimated 70 % of islands ‘ population were from the Ecuadorian mainland, so much that “ the full work force in this nature-tourist economic system can be traced to migration. ” ( 2003:982 ) . It is apparent that the hypertrophied work force is good to islands ‘ economic system as a whole, but the per capita income has non risen significantly, due to the larger dispersion of money over the turning population. This explains the correlativity between the lifting population and unchanging degrees of poorness, in malice of the turning economic system.

Pull offing the mainland-to-island migration is the mark of recent policy steps in order to curtail islands ‘ demographic growing. Because these migration limitations are current, it is non clear how the “ closed-island labor market scenario ” ( 2003:986 ) will work out. In this scenario, if there is a demand for labor on the islands, rewards will increase for already-residents in hopes to trip unemployed island-dwellers to work instead than act uponing migration from the mainland. This new policy is hoped to be the solution to the concerns of population growing by restricting migration. If so this policy proves to be successful, the economic benefits will be distributed amongst a smaller population, and the per capita income will lift in correlativity to the turning economic system.

Tourism at the Cost of Human Life and Environmental Degradation

Before the touristry detonation in the Galapagos, poorness was a common happening. Now that the economic system has boomed, and the population has grown as a consequence of the touristry industry, poorness has yet to be diminished. These unsustainable life conditions cause both injuries to the environment and to human life. The pattern of ecotourism is supposed to be an implemented rule in the Galapagos, which is entitled to protect both worlds and nature of the part, neither of the two appear to be looked after.

The quickly turning population is besides linked to human wellness and environment quality, as proven by Walsh, et Al. ( 2010 ) . The writers discuss the deductions involved with holding an expanded human ecological footmark in the Galapagos Islands, with a “ growing demand for consumer merchandises, including nutrient, bottled H2O, vehicles, edifice stuffs, and fuel. ” ( 2010:138 ) . A major concern that the writers expressed was that none of the populated islands have any on the job effluent intervention workss. This raises hazards to both human wellness and environmental harm. Environmental concerns include the fact that sewerage can pollute groundwater and pollute coastlines near discharge countries ( 2010:139 ) . Health deductions include an expected addition in diarrhoeal and correlative diseases due to hapless H2O quality. There are besides many sanitation jobs, such as gastro-intestinal jobs, fungous tegument infections, parasites, and urinary piece of land infections that can all be linked back to hapless H2O intervention. As touristry continues to develop, the sanitation criterions have yet to be improved.

Sanitation issues can be traced back to the abuse of the claimed “ ecotourism ” in the Galapagos. Possibly proper effluent intervention workss could be established if more money from the tourer industry was doing its manner into the local economic system. As for now, none of the four populated islands have working effluent intervention workss, nor do they hold any concrete programs to construct them in the close hereafter. Therefore waterborne infections, which are the 2nd most frequent cause for morbidity in the Galapagos, are expected to increase ( 2010:139 ) . This addition in the human footmark in the Galapagos has come to be a consequence of the increased population and unequal regional planning. Ecotourism is meant to profit the local occupants, non force them deeper into poorness.

Case Study: Puerto Villamil, Isabela Island, Ecuador

Human Health and Environmental Quality

Beginning: Walsh et Al 2010

This instance of Puerto Villamil is representative of the remainder of the Galapagos Islands because historically all Galapagos communities have been challenged in similar countries.

Puerto Villamil, Isabela Island in the Galapagos has experienced recent urban development as a consequence of the turning tourer sector of the economic system in correlativity to the increasing population. Puerto Villamil is located in the western part of the Galapagos Island, Isabela Island, one of the youngest but largest islands. Figure 1 shows the country where this instance survey is taking topographic point.

Figure 1. ( Walsh et al 2010:140 ) .

Puerto Villamil is presently home to 88 per centum of Isabela Island ‘s occupants, with a population of 1,800. Historically, Puerto Villamil strived economically by concentrating on the agribusiness and fishing industries, similar to other towns in the Galapagos before the tourer roar. In hopes to pull more tourers, the town expanded the local airdrome, built new hotels and eating houses, and renovated dock countries for little circuit boats. Despite the growing in substructure, local H2O, cloaca, and sanitation systems of Isabela were non planned to run into the demands of the turning population and the increasing sum of visitants. Due to the deficiency of proper intervention systems, the town continued dumping waste H2O straight into the ocean, which is a immense environmental concern. As a consequence, unwellnesss and diseases continued to be a prevalent job in the local community.

In the Galapagos, tap H2O is provided as a public service to residential places, while imbibing H2O is merely provided to private companies. Although the tap H2O is non used for imbibing, it still poses hazards for its other utilizations such as wash and bathing, as shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2. ( Walsh et al 2010:149 ) .

The imbibing H2O in Puerto Villamil comes from three different beginnings ; local private desalination workss, rain H2O, and bottled H2O shipped from the mainland. All three of these options are non ideal for occupants as processed H2O is frequently excessively expensive for the bulk of occupants and bottled H2O is frequently contaminated due to hapless methods to clean and recycle the plastic bottles. Approximately 70 % of local unwellnesss in Puerto Villamil are caused by ingestion and exposure to contaminated H2O ( 2010:151 ) , therefore turn outing the demand for updated sanitation systems.

Overall, really small has been done to promote responsible and sustainable urban development to back up the turning population, delicate environment, and turning copiousness of tourers. As defined by IUCN, the so called “ ecotourism ” in the Galapagos is neither wining in continuing the environment, nor making a sustainable life style for occupants, as it is adding to the pollution and lending to downgrading of human life. This instance survey demonstrates the issues environing the turning touristry industry by exemplifying the costs that both the population and the environments are confronting.


It is clear that the IUCN ‘s standard definition of ecotourism have non been met in the Galapagos Islands, despite the attempts of the authorities to promote this eco-friendly touristry. The deficiency of local economic benefits, negative effects of the turning population, and poorness stricken diseases are all causal of turning tourer industry. It has been proven that the claimed “ ecotourism ” in the Galapagos, is merely merely “ touristry ” due to the negative inducements on the local economic system, population, and environment. If the touristry industry in the Galapagos produces so many negative effects, is it worthwhile for the islands to go on to supply a touristry finish for travellers? And if this industry were to close down, without the occupation chances that were one time provided by touristry, how would the occupants strive? Though the solution may non be to close down the full industry, but to set more focal point on run intoing the demands of ecotourism. Changes would hold to made and new Torahs would hold to be put in topographic point, but as seen over the past twosome decennaries, the Galapagos is capable of making drastic and rapid alterations.


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