When we talk about the environmental sustainability of Pikaia Lodge, we can’t limit it to the environmental sustainability of our buildings and its operation. We have to question the very existence of Pikaia Lodge. One school of thought is that tourism, and the development of more tourist infrastructure will harm the unique wildlife of the Galapagos, and this is a valid concern and one that we share.
However, many people involved in the work to achieve equilibrium between development and preservation, including the Galapagos National Park Service and the Ecuadorian environmental authorities, believe that eco-tourism is an important part of the solution to preserving the Galapagos Islands. The key is tight regulation and effective management. The Galapagos tourism model is not, and will never be, similar to the hedonistic, resource-intensive model of south-east Asia or the Caribbean.
Neither is it Ibiza, nor Hawaii, with mass tourism and massive hotel infrastructures, casinos, golf, discos, crowded beaches and condos. The Galapagos model is designed exclusively for a controlled number of very selective eco-tourists, who will eschew over-development; this is why people travel to the Galapagos in the first place.
Ecuador understands that the islands are fragile and must be protected. A strict Galapagos law, internationally recognised as a landmark legislation, has been put in place specifically to prevent such overdevelopment. This law limits even the constitutional right for Ecuadorians to settle in the islands, to prevent overpopulation and reduce demand on resources. But the Galapagos Islands do face complex local, social and economic challenges, which we are working to identify and address.