June 07, 2021
The hope of the inhabitants of Galapagos is predicated on a return to full [tourism] activity, with the aim of reviving an economy hit extremely hard by the pandemic.
On March 17, 2020, flights to the islands were paralyzed. Although operations opened in July, they never reached the [tourist] traffic prior to the emergence of the coronavirus.
Today, from an official point of view, it is proposed that June is the month of island reactivation.
The vast majority of the almost 34,000 inhabitants of the archipelago are employed around the tourism industry, either directly or through the provision of complementary services.
The total closure left thousands of island inhabitants in a very poor situation. In addition, investments into quality tourism came up short and led to some layoffs and considerable backlogs in the payroll of people dependent on tourism in the Galapagos.
The islands received 25,000 tourists every month. Now the official data shows 7,000 visitors per month, a figure far from normal [in recent years].
It should be noted, however, that the impact of tourism on the natural habitat of the islands has never been able to be properly controlled; moreover, awareness of the natural environment is not always respected by the inhabitants, visitors and authorities, who are sometimes lazy with the extreme environmental care required.
But with all the care taken the pandemic and once the population over 18 years of age has received at least one of the doses of the vaccine, the industry hopes to be reactivated.
Now, the country [of Ecuador] is not only Galapagos. Tourism suffered a harsh impact from the spread of the coronavirus and the meager control at the national level. Suburban tourism has progressed with considerable effort, with offers of rest and facilities for teleworking and tele-education.
A safe and sustained plan must be undertaken with financial support. Once such positive initiative is the appointment with Minister Niels Olsen of the Association of Farms and Rural Tourism this week. You have to work fast and on all fronts.
Read the original editorial from El Comercio at https://www.elcomercio.com/opinion/turismo-esperanza-galapagos-economia-editorial.html
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