2013 tourism statistics released

The Galapagos National Park Service published its 2013 visitor numbers last week.  The numbers show that  204,295 visitors came to the islands last year (13% increase from 2012), of which 65 % ( 132,119) were foreigners and 35% ( 72,276) were Ecuadorian.   One in four visitors to the islands come from the United States of America (50,393), followed by the UK, Germany, Canada and Australia.

55% of foreign visitors and 27% of Ecuadorian visitors took a cruise (total of about 86,000 people).  The proportion of people taking a cruise is dropping, as cheaper land based options proliferate.

The increased land based visitation is paralleled by an increase in the proportion of 26-35 year olds – typically those who can’t afford to take a cruise.  

Though a land based visit is a cheaper option, CNH Tours continues to believe that only a ship based visit will expose you to what Galapagos is most famous for – unique wildlife, exceptional volcanic landscapes and the feeling that you are at the end of the world.  

CNH Tours is impressed by the Ecuadorian governments continued policy of keeping a lid on any cruise ship capacity increase in the islands.   By doing so, impacts on the islands are limited, and the visitor experience is not marred by excessive numbers of tourists in one same place at one same time.   Land based tourism has been harder to manage – as hotels and self-catering options pop up willy nilly with little oversight.   The government is gradually developing suitable policies in this area now, ensuring that Galapagos will not turn into a run-down wild west type of tourist destination.