How many tourists should be allowed to visit Galápagos? The number of people should be controlled said Jim Lutz, a tour operator from California.
More people have moved to the Galápagos to work in land-based tourism, and this increase in population is also a threat to its wildlife. because a larger population requires more infrastructure. According to the Ecuadorean National Census of 2010, 25,100 people live in the Galápagos, and the population on the islands grew by 60 percent from 1999 to 2005.
The tour operators’ association emphasized that it does not want to ban land-based tourism in the Galápagos.
Tourism has helped the Galápagos thrive: in past decades and centuries, pirates and whaling ships exploited the islands, especially by stealing its wildlife.
“There are stories of how whaling ships would come and fill their ship holds with the giant tortoises who live on the islands,” Luits said. Tourism protects the islands, because the money generated from visitors allows for the monitoring and protection of Galápagos National Park and the Galápagos Marine Reserve, which he said is expensive and complicated.
He encourages travelers who are seeking a beach getaway or want to go fishing to consider destinations other than the Galápagos. “These activities exist in many places, and you don’t need to go to the Galápagos to get them,” he said. “The islands are a place for those who are interested in ecotourism.”
In April the Galápagos Tour Operator Organization called for no more growth in tourism for Galápagos.
The Galápagos Islands is a volcanic archipelago in the Pacific Ocean. It’s considered one of the world’s foremost destinations for wildlife-viewing. A province of Ecuador, it lies about 1,000km off its coast. Its isolated terrain shelters a diversity of plant and animal species, many found nowhere else.