Galapagos WildlifeOn behalf of the Ministry of Tourism, and in response to reports that have distorted the contents of the New Organic Law of the Special Regime for the Province of Galapagos (LOREG), we ratify our commitment to preserve these islands, which are a UNESCO World Natural Heritage. Recognizing the value of this natural wonder, the Government of Ecuador included the archipelago as a Special Territory in the country's Constitution, in order to incorporate special policies for its conservation.


Regarding the construction of tourism accommodation infrastructure, we inform that under this Government the full Governing Council of the Special Regime for Galapagos, for the first time, has implemented a range of rigorous standards designed to protect the environment, the welfare of tourists and the inclusion of the local population. These measures are essential for the long-term sustainability of an ecologically sensitive area such as the Galapagos Islands.


By their nature, the Galapagos Islands do not support mass tourism; a fact that has led the Galapagos National Park to closely manage the number of domestic and foreign visitors to the area. Consequently, it is essential to raise the quality of tourism services offered in the region, as a mean to increase benefits for the people of the Galapagos. At the Ministry of Tourism we believe in the development of this sector with a long-term vision, so that tourism can be a source of intergenerational benefits.


Currently there are 20 infrastructure projects under evaluation by the Governing Council. None of these projects have been approved. Within this portfolio of 20 projects there are no mega-projects, golf courses or similar infrastructure projects, as has been mentioned in some articles.


In order to obtain the building permits, the proposers should comply with 118 parameters, which establish environmental, tourism and social conditions. It is important to note that as part of the social requirements, each project must hire local services, employ staff that are permanent residents of the Galapagos, and provide ongoing training. This is in order to safeguard the participation and inclusion of local people in tourism establishments.


In the same way and within the environmental parameters, responsible solid waste management is required as part of the construction and operations of all projects. The parameters also recognize the importance of maintaining high environmental standards (such as soil and water) in areas where construction will take place. These parameters seek to ensure that new projects are developed in sustainability terms, thereby safeguarding the island’s fragile ecosystems.


The regulations clearly determine that any new infrastructure does not exceed 35 rooms, or in other words, that the maximum capacity of accommodation is for 70 people. The size of each building will be determined based on a detailed and careful study. We emphasize again that mega-projects are not allowed in the Galapagos Islands.


It is important to mention that foreign investment has never been prohibited. Both the Constitution (Article 9) and the Organic Code for Production, Trade and Investment (Article 17) mention that there is no discriminatory treatment between domestic and foreign investors. They will receive equal conditions and will not be part of arbitrary or discriminatory measures. However, as ratified in the new law, residents of Galapagos do have a preferential treatment.


On the other hand, the National Environmental Authority has ratified that: "The current LOREG does not put at risk the limits of the National Park and the Galapagos Marine Reserve. The limits are maintained, and there are powers in place to increase the protected areas". Therefore the construction of new hotel infrastructure is clearly prohibited within the protected areas of the Galapagos, which constitute 97% of its land territory.


In fact, the new LOREG, in force since June 11th, 2015, further strengthens the regulation of the infrastructure of hotels as the Article 72 notes:


"Art. 72.- Construction of infrastructure for tourist accommodation: The construction of new infrastructure for tourist accommodation or the expansion of the existing infrastructure that does not comply with the provisions of the Plan for Hotel Regulation set by the National Tourism Authority is forbidden.


The Hotel Regulation Plan shall be made based on a study of the capacity of the environment by the Environmental Authority, and socio-cultural or other tourism studies. They must be approved by the Governing Council of the Special Regime of the Province of Galapagos and consistent with the plan of Sustainable Development and Territorial Organization of the Special Regime of the Province of Galapagos."


Finally, the Ministry of Tourism’s web page,, is the only page used to promote Ecuador as a destination to consumers and the tourism industry. There is not up until now a page specifically designed for tourism investment, so any information that might exist in other networks is not official.

The Ministry of Tourism once again reaffirms its commitment to ensuring the quality of tourism services, the inclusion of the local population and the conservation of the Galapagos Islands. It is for all these reasons, that we will remain strong as a governing body to regulate the new works in tourism infrastructure that will be carried out in this area.


For more information, please contact the Ministry of Tourism with Lorena Gavilanes, Director of Tourism Information: and in charge of Public Relationships.


About TIES

As the world's oldest and largest international ecotourism association, TIES seeks to be the global source of knowledge and advocacy uniting communities, conservation, sustainable travel..




> The International Ecotourism Society 



The Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism Conference will highlight global challenges and local opportunities, supporting sustainable development of tourism and promoting solutions that balance conservation, communities and sustainable travel.

Connect to Us   

Become a Fan of TIES   Share Your Videos with TIESLinkedIn   Pinterest

   Google Plus Vimeo