August 30, 2020 – 10h11
Through a national chain in the last week, President Lenín Moreno announced the delivery of a special bonus for Galapagos families that have seen their economy affected due to the restrictions that were imposed and due tothe decrease in tourists due to the COVID-19 coronavirus.
Norman Wray, president of the Galapagos Government Council, explained that in July the Council approved a reactivation plan that included social protection measures for families in vulnerable situations due to the paralysis of the economy. This is how an information survey was carried out with interviewers and a total of approximately 3,200 people expressed their willingness to be evaluated to access the benefit.
The plan is also implemented in coordination with the Ministry of Economy and Finance, of Economic and Social Inclusion and the Social Registry Unit. This last entity is analyzing the information collected.
The price index in Galapagos, higher than in the continental part, has been taken into account when setting the amounts of the contribution to the population.
“It is a product designed for the reality of Galapagos, around $ 120 is being considered for a person and a family of three or more members about $ 350 for a period of six months as a support until we see how the economy is reacting” Wray said.
The delivery process will be similar to that of the continent, however, this is still being refined by the Social Registry Unit and MIES.
The economy of around 85% of the population depends indirectly on tourism, which is currently affected. Wray cited that in one day of 2019 they collected more than $ 25,000 in the entrance fee to the Galapagos National Park, while on the same day in 2020 they only reached more than $ 1,240.
“That is the difference and the economic downturn that we are experiencing at that time that reflects what the citizenship in Galapagos is facing. For this reason, it is necessary to have responses of this type of and quick responses for what is happening in the islands” , he pointed.
There are currently three weekly flights to the islands. Tourists seeking access to the province must have a negative RT PCR test result up to 96 hours before the trip.
In recent weeks there have been demonstrations by various sectors to make their problems visible and thus achieve a solution to the complex situation. Given this, Wray indicated that they opened a space for dialogue with a view to having a meeting with President Lenín Moreno. For now, they are analyzing payment facilities for the operation license on the island, as well as the design of credit products according to the peninsular reality. Several residents have stated that they are unable to access loans due to their ranking in the credit bureau and others ask that there no longer be pressure to collect debts in the face of the situation.
“The people in Galapagos have said clearly, and it seems to me to be the right thing to do, is that what they are requesting is not that the money be given away but rather that more favorable economic conditions are effectively sought to underpin the reactivation process and that is where where we are trying to work. In that sense I believe that the conditions of Galapagos are absolutely very particular, since it is a closed economy almost 100% dependent on tourist activity, “he remarked.
Regarding the spread of the virus, as active cases of COVID-19 doubled between August 21 and 28, Wray explained that it is part of a foreseeable process before the reopening of economic activities and that they are carrying out a plan of follow-up to identify possible asymptomatic cases.
“The MSP has ratified the fact that there are no conditions to have community contagion on the islands, an effort is being made to monitor and protect and above all to protect the vulnerable population,” he said.Until August 28 there were 67 active cases of coronavirus in the archipelago, according to figures from the Governing Council.
Read at bit.ly/0830bonus or https://www.eluniverso.com/noticias/2020/08/30/nota/7960747/norman-wray-galapagos-bono-turismo-isla
Informing and sharing news on marine life, flora, fauna and conservation in the Galápagos Islands since 2017
© SOS Galápagos, 2021