I don’t think that there is significant impact done by tourists, as, for the most part, guides are vigilant in protecting the flora and fauna. There are, of course, special cases, but for the most part, I think it’s helping to show people what animals live there.
Tourism is a touchy subject when it comes to environmental issues. I think Sir David Attenborough of BBC put it best when he refers to it as a, “necessary evil.” Tourism is expected to bring close to 180,000 people to the Galapagos Islands next year. While this is a enormous amount of people to be walking around a small sensitive island ecosystem, the tourists create the opportunity for conservation. Without money coming in from tourists who want to see colorful birds and iguanas ect., the local people do not have as much incentive to conserve the island ecosystems. Without tourists, a bird nest with eggs is appealing for food, but with tourists, there is incentive to leave those eggs untouched.
One problem of eco-tourism pointed out in a 2000 article was that jobs created by eco-tourism increased the permanent population of the island. The article claims that the population almost tripled in fifteen years, and that increased population causes more pollution and chance for degradation of the environment.
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