Galapagos Expedition Cruise Company Ecoventura Achieves Rainforest Alliance Verification

9 December 2011

MIAMI, FL – Ecoventura, the company that cossets guests sailing with its environmentally friendly fleet of small expedition vessels in the Galapagos, announces that it has earned Rainforest Alliance verification in recognition of its commitment to conserving the environment and supporting local communities.

Rainforest Alliance verification is an assurance that a hotel or tour operator has met comprehensive social, environmental and economic standards that conserve natural resources, protect wildlife and help local communities thrive. Rainforest Alliance verification is aligned with the Global Sustainable Tourism Council’s criteria, the gold standard for sustainable tourism.

“Displaying the Rainforest Alliance VerifiedTM mark in Ecoventura messaging will help bring the urgency of sustainability issues to the consumer,” said Santiago Dunn, Ecoventura president.

Dunn said his company is a natural fit because of its long-standing, mission-driven leadership in protecting the fragile ecosystem of the Galapagos Islands. “The Rainforest Alliance was one of our original mentors when we started our journey to green the operation in the late 1990's, being part of this new initiative makes us proud to continue the tradition and further our commitment to sustainability.”

Recognition for its visionary work in sustainable travel is not new for Ecoventura. The company was one of the first recipients (2000) of SmartVoyager, a voluntary environmental program developed by the local NGO Conservacion & Desarollo in Ecuador. This program gives a “green seal of approval” to tour boats that comply with requirements to tread lightly on the area’s fragile ecosystem.

In 2006 Ecoventura became the first fully Carbon Neutral operation in the Galapagos Islands. In 2008, the company was presented with the Virgin Holidays Responsible Tourism – Best in a Marine Environment Award. Distinguished judges noted Ecoventura’s contribution toward improving conditions for local people in Galapagos and for being among the first operators to be independently audited. In 2009, Ecoventura was honored with the Conde Nast World Savers Award as the top scoring cruise line. The panel of judges noted the company was exceptional in education, preservation, poverty and health. And In November 2009, Ecoventura received Travel + Leisure’s 5th annual Global Vision Award for Green Cruising.

“The Rainforest Alliance verification program helps transform the business practices of tourism companies and motivates tourists to support these efforts,” said Ronald Sanabria, vice president of sustainable tourism at the Rainforest Alliance. “Our long-term goal is to help the industry become socially and environmentally responsible as well as profitable, promoting tourism practices that protect ecosystems and improve the lives of individuals and communities.”

The Rainforest Alliance’s sustainable tourism program helps tourism professionals improve the sustainability of their businesses through training workshops and on-site technical assistance. Initiatives include adopting ecosystem and water conservation measures, reducing energy use, supporting local economies, hiring from within the community and reducing costs.