Sustainable Tourism Awards | March 11th, 2009

The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has announced the finalists for the 2009 Tourism for Tomorrow Awards. The prestigious awards recognize best practices in sustainable tourism in four different categories – destination stewardship, conservation, community benefit and global tourism business. An Ecuadorean company was one of the 12 finalists.  Metropolitan Touring’s contributions to sustainability can be seen in three corporate fields: international certifications (for ships and hotels in the Galápagos Islands, including the Smart Voyager certification); environmental policy, including environmental education and training, solid-waste recycling programs and costal clean-up programs; and Fundación Galápagos-Ecuador, a not-for profit conservation and community environmental organization.

Achieving truly sustainable tourism in the Galapagos continues to be a critical issue.  Tourism maintains the profile of the islands, and ensures international support for conservation, as well as providing significant income for agencies such as the national parks authority.  But it also poses a threat if not well managed.  There is pressure inside Ecuador for loosening controls on tourism – allowing larger cruise boats for example. Commitment of tourism operators to sustainability, and the work of NGOs like Fundación will help counter those pressures.