CNH Tours got the scoop 1 month before the New York Times

On 23 August, we published a story on how the authorities in charge of the Galapagos National Park fee would likely be increasing it by the end of the year (the new fee would be applied 12 months after the decision was taken).   See our article "Park fee increase for January 2021?"

Today (26 September), the New York Times published an article "Sharp Inrease in Visitor Park Fees Proposed for the Galapagos".  We're titillated by having beaten this world-renowned newspaper on the story! 

I was involved in providing information for the journalist, Adam Popescu.

CNH Tours fully supports an increase.   The rate of $100 has been the same for nearly 30 years.  Back then, you were charge a variety of fees by a variety of local authorities, all adding up to $100.   This chaotic approach was consolidated into a single fee in 1998, paid on arrival.   

A higher fee should have three positive outcomes. It should: 

  • Encourage casual travellers to think twice before embarking on a trip to this globally unique, iconic wildlife destination.   People should be clear on why they want to go there, and understand the outstanding nature of the destination and they should be motivated by a strong conviction.  A higher fee will encourage people to pause for a moment and consider how important it is for them to visit.

  • Discourage the lowest of the low end travellers who are driven to visit places at the lowest possible cost, leaving very few dollars in the local economy, while contributing to negative impacts (I saw one blogger boast about having spent 7 days in Galapagos for a total of $271.  $5 for rice and beans, $18 for a bed...).

  • Provide additional resources to the Galapagos National Park Service so that it may better do its job.  

As a member of the International Galapagos Tour Operators' Association, I have pressed IGTOA's president to write a letter of support to the Galapagos Governing Council on a fee increase.   We will be sending them one shortly.   The letter will include a note indicating that the additional funds genenerated by an increased fee needs to translate into additional resources available to the Galapagos National Park Service.    There is always a risk that such funds end up in general government coffers.

We feel that those of us who can even consider a trip to the Galapagos are already part of a very priviliged few on this planet.  We owe it to the others who can't make it to treat this destination will the respect it deserves, and to ensure that our visit doesn't contribute to the erosion of its values.   It's a special place, and we should all feel very lucky and humbled to have the chance to visit it.  We do hope that an increase in park fees, after a 30 year freeze, will be well-received.  

If you're travelling in 2020, the fee will remain at $100.  But it will most likely go up by 2021.  We hope you understand that it's for a good cause.