Galapagos Island Based Travel – A Short History
June 8, 2010 § Leave a comment
Travel to the Galapagos Islands has changed dramatically over the last 10 years. Looking back in the year 2000 there were 68,000 visitors to the Galapagos per year in 1998 that number rose to over 173,000. Back in 2000 the majority of Galapagos Cruises were for 12 passengers or less – now that number has moved to 16.
One of the other big changes is the advent of Island Based Travel. Back in 2000 there were a few hotels in the islands mainly catering to scientists, backpackers and people who wanted a couple extra days on the beach. The Finch Bay was called the Delphin they initiated island based travel had a boat which offered day tours to other islands – but without the visitors interested in packages they sold it to another agency to offer cruises. The other big hotel was the hotel Galapagos owned by the Nelson family who catered to passing boats and visiting scientists.
Things began to change in 2001 when a Sir John Madejski decided to make the dreams of a crazy Italian schoolmate into a real business. Madejski a businessman in the UK understood the importance of structure and development. Through the Millennium Hotels and Resorts a Swiss hotelier was hired to come and turn his project into a reality and to develop tourism in Galapagos.
Galapagos had a new mentor someone who had been all over the world and watched pristine out of the way destinations develop into mega resort destinations it happened in in Cabo San Lucas, Playa del Carmen Mexico, Pattaya Beach, Thailand.
From experience he knew the best way to preserve the Galapagos was to provide opportunities to the local people that invested them in the future of the islands. That it is only through the partnership of the local community that any place could be preserved.
Local leaders joined together and began islands a Galapagos wide project began to get the locals to understand just how remarkable of a place they lived. They worked to create local employment opportunities. They understood that the youth of the islands are the future and created training programs in service, hospitality and the tourism industry in order to build a sustainable business.
Today there are Island Based programs exist on Santa Cruz, San Cristobal, Isabela and Floreana. Over the next few blogs we’ll discuss and experience each one together.