Tour firm spearheads Galapagos charity

Ocean Adventures has created a charitable
program to fund tourism-related education in the Galapagos, it was
announced by Francesco Galli Zugaro, Vice President Marketing and Sales
for Ocean Adventures.Tourism in the Galapagos is growing at a rate of 4% per year, thus the
need for support functions in the industry continues to provide
significant job opportunities.  Unfortunately, many of the necessary
skills must be imported from mainland Ecuador, as they are not currently
available among legal local residents of the Galapagos.  In particular,
in the area of hospitality operations, required language skills are
scarce; and few locals have had exposure to the international service
standards required to work in galley, dining room, reception and
housekeeping functions. 

According to Mr. Galli Zugaro, “Since Ocean Adventures’ business focuses
on the beauty and sustainability of the Galapagos Islands, we have been
looking for a project that would enable us to give something back to the
region.  After much research, and in light of the area’s growing
population and the need to ensure employability of young adults, we
decided to participate in an educational program that would prepare high
school students for a more secure future.”

Ocean Adventures’ first donation will be followed up by monthly funding
channeled through the International Galapagos Tour Operators Association
(IGTOA) - of which Ocean Adventures is a member - and directed to the
Charles Darwin Foundation.

The government of Ecuador, the Minister of Education and local
governments are working together to enhance the current level of
education in the region and are implementing a UNESCO developed
educational program aimed at reducing poverty.  Colegio Galapagos is one
of the high schools selected for the pilot program to focus on teaching
culinary and service skills for the tourism industry.  The program
begins in the 2006 school year.