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Ecuador strikes a balance between nature and tourism at Galapagos Islands

The archipelago of Galapagos is a fine place to be when spending a holiday, the sole purpose of which is relaxation and wildlife watching. However, the frequent visits of tourists to this collection of islands have brought up certain environmental issues. The Galapagos National Park Authority have formulated certain new policies and regulations stating guidelines of the routes to the cruises and restricting the frequency of visitors to Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands. These new rules will be effective from February 1, 2012 and this is the time given to the tour operators as well to integrate these rules and plan their tours accordingly.

The fresh rules have been formulated keeping in mind tourism blended with the protection concerns of the local plant and animal life and their natural habitat. The new regulations clearly state that guests of the Galapagos Islands will be allowed to stay onsite for five days and four nights per ship and within a period of 14 days, the visitors will enjoy a frequency of four landings. This is quite good as the four landings in different spots can open up avenues of different activities in this conglomeration of Islands. People interested in wildlife, camp at various lodges throughout the Amazon region exploring places like Baños, Mindo and the Avenues of the Volcano. On the other hand people interested in history, travel to city centers of Quito and Cuenca.

Since the last 14 years, concentration of tourists has been only seen in case of three islands Santa Cruz, Isabela and San Cristobal. To change this scenario, the concentration of the visitors are being redistributed and spread to other islands. This led to the change in the existing norms and the creation of the new regulations that ensured opening up of other islands and changing the routes and their frequencies of visitors. This will result in the reduction of the fuel consumption as well as the pollution created by the boats, ships and yachts seen to be working on the islands. The new ports that will be accessible are Tagus Cove and Santa Fe. The islands of Genovesa, Española and Fernandina are opening up to tiny boats as well, permitting the visitors to see unique species like the albatross, the red-footed booby, the flightless cormorant and different other mimids.

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