Ecuador and Galapagos Travel

Responsible Tourism

HELPING TO CREATE A GREENER AND HAPPIER ECUADOR

As is true throughout the world, in Ecuador tourism has both positive and negative impacts on the local environment, nature and people. Growth in tourist numbers brings more money into the economy of this developing country but at the same time puts an increasing strain on the very same forests, animals and people that tourists come to see.

We therefore believe that it is the responsibility of all tour operators and agencies here to promote and encourage eco-friendly practices amongst their clients and employees, as well as taking an active role in enhancing the positive impacts that tourism can have in Ecuador.

Responsible Tourism in Ecuador

Smart VoyagerAS OF SEPT 2012 HAPPY GRINGO ARE PROUD TO BE THE VERY FIRST TRAVEL AGENCY TO GAIN THE PRESTIGIOUS SMART VOYAGER AWARD FOR OUR CONTINUED EFFORTS IN RESPONSIBLE TOURISM - THIS IS RECOGNISED AS THE HIGHEST MERIT IN ECOLOOGICAL PRACTICES IN ECUADOR.

At HAPPY GRINGO we take the following steps to support local communities and the economy, protect the environment, and recycle waste:




Community Support

Indigenous girls

Reforestation

ECO-TOURS - we actively promote the very best eco-tourism projects in the country such as Kapawi, Yachana, Huoarani & Napo rainforest lodges, the Bellavista cloudforest lodge, and Eric / Letty / Flamingo yachts. We have also designed our own special 1 week Responsible Traveller tour that visits the best of the smaller, less known eco-tourism projects in the Ecuadorian Andes, and from which we donate US$25 per person to a local charity.

RECYCLING - although Latin America is sadly lagging behind when it comes to recycling we do successfully recycle paper, glass, aluminium and plastic waste from our office since 2007. We also have signs throughout our office to remind staff and clients to conserve water and electricity wherever possible.

HELPING POOR COMMUNITIES - we collect used clothes in our Quito office for donation to the small farming community of Porvenir de Mocha, to whom we have also donated spanish childrens books to their school library, and encourage volunteers to contact Voluntarios de Occidente (VDO) to help directly in this community.

Since 2007 we have also organised and funded the annual Christmas Gifts campaign and party for the Porvenir de Mocha community.

We have also donated tours as prizes for the fundraising events of the Bruce Ecuador Street Children Project and for Andean Bear Conservation.

All of your donations and support to these wonderful causes are very welcome!!!


LEAVING NO FOOTPRINTS - we inform all of our Galapagos clients about the important National Park Regulations and encourage them to always understand, respect and help protect the fragile ecosystem that they are visiting - local guides often forget to do this and tourists therefore cause damage to the environment due to lack of awareness.

We also donate funds in order to be corporate members of the Galapagos Conservation Trust who are leaders in conservation projects at the islands.

To further our green initiative we are also off-setting the carbon emissions of our Happy Gringo minivan used in daytours as well as the electricity use of our office. CanopyCo, an Ecuadorian based organization, are doing some fine native tree reforestation and development work in Ecuador - see their link below. If you would like to offset the impact of your trip to Ecuador or Galapagos then please ask us for further information.


SUPPORTING THE LOCAL ECONOMY - we employ skilled local people at highly competitive and fair wage rates. Currently 100% of our office staff, drivers, guides, accountants, lawyers and cleaners are native Ecuadorians. We also work together primarily with Ecuadorian suppliers and tour operators.

Another important means of supporting the Ecuadorian economy is to pay correct taxes and to affiliate all staff with social security - something that we have done responsibly since our inauguration.



We also recommend the following links for further information about travel-related conservation:

Galapagos Conservation Trust - an excellent organisation raising awareness and funds for conservation in the Galapagos National Park. Donate directly or adopt a tortoise!
Rainforest Alliance - raising funds to conserve biodiversity and ensure sustainable livelihoods in poor and remote areas of the world.
CanopyCo - a great little site that allows you to offset the negative effects of greenhouse gas emissions caused by your travels with the positive effect of planting trees in Ecuador.