Tourism Service Providers Licensing Process Underway

The Ecuadorian Ministry of Environment reported yesterday from Galapagos that it launched the tender for the granting of Tourist Activity Operators' licenses in the park.   

A total of 31 licenses will be granted as follows:  

Scuba diving - day trips:    5 in Santa Cruz, 8 in San Cristobal, and 2 for Villamil on Isabela. 

Bay tours:  4 in Santa Cruz, 6 in San Cristobal and 6 in Villamil.

CNH Tours is always very pleased to see the government authorities establishing order in the tourism sector of Galapagos.    While cruise ship tourism has been highly regulated for many years, land based tourism has been a bit of a free for all.   Until the mid to late 1990's, the vast majority of visitors to Galapagos did a cruise ship visit, leaving only a very small land based sector.   But as demand grew and as the government kept a lid on the expansion on the number of cruise ships allowed to operate in the islands (over environmental conservation and visitor experience quality concerns), and as cruise ship prices rose, there has been a very rapid expansion of land based visitors to the islands.    This happened before the authorities could implement any measures to control the proliferation and quality of services. 

Yesterday's announcement is part of the effort to ensure that visitors to Galapagos will be well taken care of, that safety measures are in place and that all service providers operate from the same, level playing field.    This complements the Ministry of Tourism's OK Galapagos campaign, which provides the "OK Galapagos" label to all tourism service providers that operate according to regulations.    CNH Tours always encourages visitors to patronize legal and licensed service providers in Galapagos (e.g. hotels, bay tours, inter-island transport operators) to ensure that the tourism industry in the islands grows in a sustainable, safe way.