- Hotels, shipping companies and restaurants receive small loans or down payments on future business
Puerto Ayora/Frankfurt, August 26th 2021. Even if tourism on the Galapagos Islands has been increasingly recovering since the beginning of the year, a sword of Damocles hangs over the local providers: they must pay their patents and insurance with the national park and the regional government for the pandemic period 2020/21 this year, which have so far only been suspended. Even for small hotels with up to ten rooms, this quickly adds up to 4,000 to 5,000 thousand US dollars. Those who do not pay by the end of the year will have to close down.
The Galapagos PRO relief fund now enables 18 tourism providers on Santa Cruz Island to pay their debts in the short term, thus ensuring their survival. Together with the tourism chamber of commerce Captur, the relief campaign was advertised among its members in early July. “I was personally with my small team for a week in Puerto Ayora in July 2021 and spoke with the applicants,” continues Beate Zwermann, Managing Director Galapagos PRO GmbH. “It’s important for us to also help those we don’t have in the program so that the offer on the islands remains maximally diverse.”
A total of seven hotels will receive small loans of at least US$2,000 to US$4,000, which they will repay over a period of three years starting in January 2022. Five hotels will receive additional money for maintenance work up to a maximum amount of US$15,000. For these, repayment will be made through future business. Three shipping companies will receive up to US$40,000 for patents and insurance. Galapagos PRO already has long-standing business relationships with these. “It is our vested interest that the ships can continue to operate. They are an integral part of our offer,” Beate Zwermann further explains. “I have already given the first small loans to my partners on the islands in August 2020. There were also government offers during the pandemic, but with major bureaucratic hurdles and an interest rate of more than 12 percent.” In addition to hotels and shipping companies, three restaurants will also benefit from the relief fund, which Zwermann says is important for making life on the Galapagos Islands more attractive. All applicants should now receive the money by the end of September.
Tourism in Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands is recovering well. In July, visitor numbers to the islands were at 50 percent of 2019 levels (Minturn figures), with the U.S. market, in particular, coming back. According to the government’s vaccination schedule, by the end of September 2021, all adults 16 years and older on Ecuador’s mainland will be fully vaccinated. This has already been the case for residents of the Galapagos Islands since the end of May. Incidence numbers have been at low levels for many months, and the forecast bodes well for a quiet winter. All sanitary regulations remain in force.
Ecuador is no longer a risk area for many countries
The United States, Switzerland, Austria and most other European countries have not classified Ecuador as a risk area for some time. “Ecuador has so far managed very successfully to live with the virus and protect its population through strict hygiene protocols. I travelled to the country in July 2021 and again marvelled at the safety. The vaccination campaign is showing good results on the mainland,” explains Beate Zwermann, Executive Director of Galapagos PRO.
Information on Galapagos PRO:
The special tour operator Galapagos PRO has made the island archipelago in the Pacific and Ecuador bookable online. Over 270 different itineraries, 58 ships (including eight diving ships) on the Galapagos Islands can be booked individually. Also in the program are Amazon rainforest lodges, rental car and bus tours on the Ecuadorian mainland, as well as flight bookings, last-minute cruises and combination trips with Peru and Chile. Further information on Galapagos PRO and reservation possibilities find you here: www.galapagos-pro.com.
Partner: Charles Darwin Foundation – www.darwinfoundation.org/en/