The International Galapagos Tour Operators Association (IGTOA) is a nonprofit association of travel companies dedicated to the complete and lasting protection of the Galapagos. Since 1997 IGTOA and its member companies have raised more than $600,000 USD--partly from tourist fees--in support of conservation in the Galapagos. I’m happy to report that this organization includes International Expeditions, a U.S. tour company we have traveled with several times.
|Conservation is essential to preserve the Galapagos Islands.|
Photo courtesy IGTOA
The archipelago’s endemic wildlife and natural beauty have made travel to the Galapagos Islands increasingly popular in recent years. The islands face serious environmental threats, including invasive species, which often outcompete or prey upon native and endemic species, illegal poaching and fishing, and population growth.
WildAid, The Charles Darwin Foundation CDF), Ecology Project International (EPI) and Friends of Galapagos New Zealand (FOGNZ) will receive a total of $65,000 from the International Galapagos Tour Operators Association this year to assist in efforts to conserve and protect the Galapagos Islands. The funds were raised through contributions from IGTOA member companies and donations from travelers to IGTOA’s Galapagos Traveler Conservation Fund.
"IGTOA continues to be a consistent ally in our efforts to conserve the Galapagos,´ said Marcel Bigue, WildAid’s Marine Program Director. “This year IGTOA funding has been especially critical in raising awareness among both residents and tourists with respect to the threats that invasive species pose to the Galapagos.”
|Protection of native species is essential to the Galapagos.|
Photo from bing.com
EPI co-founder Julie Osborn said, “Thanks to IGTOA’s support, EPI will bring dozens of local youth into the field to help study and protect giant tortoises. For many, it is their first opportunity to explore the National Park. Together we are creating the next generation of conservation leaders in one of the most unique ecosystems on the planet.”
"IGTOA and its member companies recognize that tour operators have an obligation to ensure that tourism remains a positive force in the Galapagos Islands," said Matt Kareus, Executive Director of IGTOA. "Through our Galapagos Traveler Conservation Fund our members and their travelers are able to support projects that will have a lasting, positive impact.”
Information courtesy of Emily Harley, IGTOA Vice President