Sustainability, Carbon Offset & CSR

We love Galapagos' pristine ecosystems and fascinating wildlifePioneering sustainable tourism is part of our DNA, and the following explains how we are doing our bit for greener travel.

 

Does Tourism Help or Hurt the Galapagos Islands?

Every visitor who comes to the Galapagos Islands must pay a $100 National Park Entrance Fee, which alone brings in more than $20 million to help sustain this expansive National Park and Marine Sanctuary - both much needed to protect the Galapagos from international fishing and whaling ships. Plus, the more people visit the Galapagos, the more they can share their stories and the importance of conserving the islands and the ocean as a whole. On the other side, the tourism business does require a big local infrastructure- more people must live in the Galapagos to staff the shops, hotels, and restaurants, which means that more housing must be built, more water systems must be installed, and more trash is generated. On top of that, since the Galapagos Islands are so isolated, it also means that all products must be imported on large cargo ships and all garbage must be shipped out, which implies more large ship traffic and higher fuel consumption. So, both is true: Tourism does help to protect the islands but also hurts them.

A Galapagos Cruise on board the Samba - exploring the mangroves



 

  

 

A Galapagos Cruise on board the Samba - looking out at Daphne Major

 

Sustainable tourism on a cruise ship - is that even possible?

It's important to remember that Galapagos cruise “ships” have little in common with what is widely thought of when you mention a cruise. Most of our ships are actually yachts or catamarans that carry no more than 16 passengers and have a crew of around six. Even our biggest vessels carry only 100 passengers, a mere yacht in comparison to the world's big cruise liners.

Since 98% of the Archipelago are part of the National Park, all Galapagos cruise vessels must have sophisticated water filtration systems, modern engines and must undergo frequent maintenance to meet the strict rules set by the National Park Administration.



 

A Galapagos Cruise on board the Samba - observing a Nazca Boobie in Genovesa

 

Your trip's CO2 footprint: 100% offset

Did you know that the travel sector is responsible for 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions? At Galapatours we are proud to be the first Galapagos cruise agency to offset all CO2 emissions (also known as the "carbon footprint") caused by our trips. We offer this service for free on all Galapagos cruises booked from February 2019. The amount of CO2 for each trip will vary, depending on the cruise length, the ship type and on whether flights were included in our offer or not. Typically, a five-day cruise including flights from the mainland to Galapagos and back will emit around 2.2 tons of CO2 into the atmosphere. To offset our carbon emissions we have partnered with the German company Arktik to invest in a Gold-Standard certified renewable energy project, the Santa Marta Landfill Gas Capture Project in southern Santiago de Chile. Here, leaking methane (a greenhouse gas that’s more than 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide!), and biogas are being captured from the waste to generate clean electricity. Around 348,000 tonnes of CO2 are saved each year this way, and it’s a real win-win for everyone involved. We also love the fact that this project is also improving the immediate environment, land and water quality for the 1.2 million people who live within its catchment area.

 A Galapagos Cruise on board the Samba - Overlooking Darwin Bay, Genovesa 

How can you help keep the Galapagos Islands pristine?

You can help keep the Galapagos Islands in their pristine condition by traveling responsibly. Only book your vacation with operators that have made a pledge to practice sustainability, protect the environment, and contribute to the local economy. You should follow the Leave No Trace policy, leaving each site just as it was when you arrived, and are asked not to bring any foodstuffs to Galapagos. The Galapagos Islands National Park has strict rules that you will become familiar with as you explore the Galapagos Islands. The biggest advice, however, is to always stay with your guide - never go off-trail or beyond the path designated by your guide. Other rules restrict campfires, littering, and fishing, and no visitor is allowed to introduce any foreign organic matter or take any natural item from the Galapagos Islands. 

  

Corporate Social Responsibility

 

 

Our mother brand, Ventura TRAVEL GmbH, undergoes a biyearly Corporate Social Reponsibility (CSR) check by TourCert. CSR describes the responsibility assumed by a company for its impact on society. TourCert, is a company for certification in tourism, awards the TourCert label for CSR to tourism companies. To be TourCert-certified, a company must fulfill certain management, reporting and performance requirements. Advisors provide support for the development of CSR in a company through coaching, training and online tools. Independent assessors regularly examine sustainability performance; the honorary TourCert Certification Council is the highest decision-making body.

 

 

Respect, esteem and equality are the cornerstones of Ventura TRAVEL. Respect for human rights in tourism is a major concern. We have been an active member of the Roundtable for Human Rights in Tourism for many years. We check, among other things, whether our partners comply with the statutory wage regulations and youth employment protection laws for example. We also support the campaign "Nicht weggsehen" ("Don't look away"), which aims to protect children in holiday destinations from sexual violence and exploitation.

 

 

ECPAT Logo

 

 

We support the "Don't look away" campaign of the worldwide Ecpat network, which works to protect children in holiday destinations from sexual violence and exploitation. In international cooperation, a central police reporting platform for all participating countries has been introduced, to which travellers can turn by clicking on the report button (see left). This reporting platform is part of the European reporting platform. Travellers can report here in German, English, French and Spanish.

 

 

The Forum Anders Reisen e.V. (web page in German) is an association of travel companies that are committed to sustainable tourism. The travel experiences offered by their members are oriented towards people and environment, use local resources carefully and purposefully and treat foreign cultures with respect. The Forum Anders Reisen was founded in 1998 and has around 130 members.

 

Susana Ceron Baumann, CSR, Galapatours

 

I am Susana Cerón Baumann, the Corporate Social Responsibilitiy (CSR) responsible at ventura TRAVEL GmbH and Galapatours. I help our team in maintaining sustainability as a core value in all our business, as well as in identifying and offsetting all CO2 emissions caused by our trips. To dig deeper about each ship operator's philosophy, I currently develop a CSR-check for all Galapagos Cruise ships, with which we hope to understand the philosophy around sustainability and CSR within each ship owner's business better. You can write me an e-mail to [email protected] or inquire directly to our Galapagos Specialists at Galapatours. I would love to hear from you if you have any questions or comments!