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Published on Thursday, December 17, 2020

Cruise line launches fund to aid stricken Galapagos Islands






Lindblad Expeditions and not-for-profit organisation, Island Conservation, have launched a relief fund to support tourism businesses on the Galapagos Islands ravaged by Covid.


The Ecuadorian wildlife haven generates 80% of its revenue through tourism, but have seen next to no visitors since March.


In the first two months of the pandemic, the Galapagos Islands is estimated to have lost $50m, almost a quarter of its annual income. Tourism arrivals between July and October fell 95%.


Like many destinations which rely on tourism, it has left businesses, and the wider Galapagos community, in tatters.


"The people of Galpagos are struggling more than I've seen in my 53-year relationship with the Islands," Lindblad Founder and Chief Executive Sven Lindblad said.


"Stimulating the local economy through community micro-loans has the power to activate a thriving system  helping entrepreneurs and small business owners develop new ideas to complement sustainable tourism, and meeting the needs of the local community long after the pandemic is over."


The Galpagos Island Relief Fund is hoping to raise $500,000, with the expeditions firm turning to its past passengers for help.


For every $1 donated to the fund, $3 will be added by Sven and Kristin Lindblad's Wanderlust Fund, Lindblad Expeditions, and the Lindblad Expeditions Board of Directors. 


Island Conservation Executive Director of Latin America Karl Campbell said: "The Galpagos Island Relief Fund will enable Galpagos community members to further their education, create new businesses, and increase local food security—steps that are essential to building a more sustainable way of life on the islands, in which people and wildlife can thrive."

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