How to avoid pirate hotels and service providers

The number of visitors to Galapagos has been increasing rapidly over the past 20 years.   Soon, over 200,000 visitors a year will be arriving.    While the cruise ship visit is the classic way to see the islands, due to strict limits on the total number of ships and berths allowed to sail in the islands (thus helping conserve the islands and the visitor experience), more and more people are visiting Galapagos by land, on island hopping trips.

OK Galapagos Logo

To respond to the growing demand for land based services (hotels, restaurants, taxis, day tripping boats etc.) local entrepreneurs have been getting into the tourism business in a large way.  Unfortunately, they've often done so outside of the law or by ignoring regulations.  As a result, today in Galapagos, those that have invested in ensuring their business respects regulations and safety standards are at times competing with those that haven't.   And those that haven't are undermining good business practices.

Though the authorities are trying to clamp down on these uncertified businesses, it's always a bit of a cat and mouse game.   In an effort to help discerning visitors (like you) choose only authorized service providers, the Ministry of Tourism has recently launched its "OK Galapagos!" campaing.

OK Galapagos is a Ministry of Tourism (Ecuador) public awareness campaign designed to encourage both visitors and members of the national and international tourism communities to support legal service providers in Galapagos.  Initiated in September 2011, this campaign aims to strengthen and give recognition to members of the formal tourist service sector in Galapagos versus informal (non-legalized) service providers.

In 2012, visitors to Galapagos can expect to encounter information about the campaign on their flight from the continent as well as in the air terminals of Galapagos.  Educational material will be presented in Spanish, English, French and German (subtitles only) with the objective of raising awareness among passengers and/or potential visitors to use, prefer and search for legal or formal service operators during their stay in the islands.

OK Galapagos is good for everyone.

The Ministry of Tourism encourages members of the national and international tourism communities to ensure that they have full knowledge of whom they are hiring.  Placing precedence on working with legal service providers in Galapagos is encouraged by the government for safety.  Professionals who have any questions or concerns about OK Galapagos are encouraged to contact:  okgalapagos@turismo.gob.ec

When considering services in Galapagos, look for the OK Galapagos logo.  At present, 60% of legal service providers have been provided with the OK Galapagos sticker to display in a prominent place in their establishment.  Be sure to ask your service provider if they are a recognized by OK Galapagos.

For more information about the campaign and a complete list of Certified Touristic Service Providers in Galapagos, please see:  http://www.emediasys.com/okgalapagos/

With your support, OK Galapagos will optimize tourism in the region as well as help ensure a pleasant, memorable experience for all visitors to Galapagos.

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