Letters to the Editor: Marine Reserve
The possible expansion of the Galapagos Marine Reserve to cover the entire insular Exclusive Economic Zone is in full debate.
These discussions have avoided analyzing the operating cost of the Galapagos National Park (PNG), which is financed through the collection of the tourism tax. The General State Budget and the PNG accountability reports from 2015 to 2019 show that the revenues did not cover the budgetary needs.
The annual deficit varies between $10 million and $18 million ($60 million in this period).
The operation of the PNG constitutes a fiscal distortion, meaning that the subsidy paid by other sources points to the wrong beneficiary (the tourists).
PNG directors have reported the situation, but with no response. The authorities permanently endorsed the subsidy to the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF).
The fall in visitors in 2020 -and in 2021- will generate a greater reduction in tourism income, which will increase the amount of the deficit. This is an extremely complicated scenario for the Government.
If the current sustainability of the PNG requires funds from other sources of the State, what is the feasibility of proposing an expansion to the Galapagos Marine Reserve?
Alternatives?: Create a trust fund ($300 to $350 million), raise the entrance fee, increase visitors. These are very complex options.
The PNG resource sheet is extremely short. The last word comes down to the MEF (Ministry of Economy and Finance), which has not participated until now.
Oswaldo Ramón Rosero Quirós,
Master in Maritime Management, Guayaquil
Read the letter via El Universo at bit.ly/1121eluniverso
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