Professional guides in the Galapagos Islands are some of the best in the world. They work tirelessly to ensure that each and every one of their guests has a safe, rewarding and even life-changing experience while visiting the Galapagos. Now, they need our help. In mid-March, tourism to the islands came to a complete standstill due to the Covid-19 pandemic, leaving hundreds of guides suddenly out of work with few, if any, options to provide basic necessities for themselves and their families.
That’s why the International Galapagos Tour Operators Association (IGTOA), in conjunction with the Galapagos Guides Association (AGIPA), is spearheading a campaign to provide financial support to the most vulnerable Galapagos guides in the coming months. IGTOA and its member companies will match your generous donations to this campaign up to $10,000.
100% of the funds raised through this campaign will be used to provide food and medical supplies directly to the Galapagos guides and their families who need it most. AGIPA has established criteria and an application process to identify which applicants face the most urgent and greatest need. All licensed Galapagos guides are eligible to apply and receive funds, not just AGIPA members.
According to a recent survey conducted by AGIPA, 60% of guides urgently need access to food and medical resources. The government has provided extremely limited assistance. The situation has continued to get more difficult with each passing month. Some other compelling reasons to consider donating are:
• 90% of guides work as freelancers and do not enjoy the benefits of full-time employment contracts or job security.
• Women make up about 60% of the population of guides, and a significant portion of them are single mothers.
• 70% have dependent children living at home.
• 70% are 40 years old or older.
• 38% are supporting family members with a disease or disability.
• 73% report having limited or no income or other financial resources to get through these difficult times.
• Fewer than 10 out of more than 800 guides reported working in the past month.
Tourism in the islands is slowly starting to reopen, but it will be at least six months, and possibly much longer, before things begin to return to a semblance of normalcy.
This is a great opportunity to support those badly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and to help take care of the guides who, in better times, do such an incredible job taking care of their guests and who are excellent stewards and ambassadors for the islands.
- Jim Richardson
- Jeanette Bettles
- Brent Welling
- David Utting
- Cynthia Hiatt
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