The Double Bind of Tourism in Galapagos Society

  • Laura BrewingtonEmail author
Part of the Social and Ecological Interactions in the Galapagos Islands book series (SESGI, volume 1)


This chapter examines the social sustainability of the tourism industry in Galapagos critically, from its inception in the 1960s, dominated by live-aboard cruises, to the present day as island-based touring has gained momentum over the “floating hotel” cruise ship model. While the economic and environmental implications of this shift have been described, the industry’s social and cultural effects have rarely been considered. In particular, how today’s residents of the archipelago are engaged in the tourism industry, and who controls and benefits from those engagements, are at the heart of this inquiry. Based on research conducted in the islands between 2007 and 2010, this chapter uses cluster analysis of a large survey of Galapagos residents to identify social and demographic characteristics that are conducive to supporting particular types of development and conservation. Responses to economic restrictions or perceived lack of opportunities are investigated through cases of illicit environmental behavior. Finally, the benefits and costs of the current tourism model are considered in the context of long-term management and social sustainability. In the absence of meaningful regulations, the industry’s unprecedented growth in recent years has exacerbated social stratification within the resident population, leading to individual acts of resistance against regulations which, along with a lack of regulation, increases the potential for irreversible environmental impacts.


Tourism Industry Marine Reserve World Heritage Site Sustainable Tourism Cruise Ship 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of GeographyUniversity of North CarolinaChapel HillUSA

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