Since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, finance and economics experts have been projecting significant
revenue loss in various areas of the global market. And while the spread
has been more or less contained in several places like Wuhan, in China and
Seoul, in South Korea, and countries like Denmark, Croatia and the Netherlands
have been fortunate to face low incidence of the virus, it still poses a threat
to the world economy, as stock investors remain fearful of a second wave
of contagion which might extend the quarantine policies implemented all
around the world.
The World Tourism Organization has estimated a potential loss of 50 billion dollars, which stem directly
from the appearance of the coronavirus, and that’s generally speaking.
Talking about Ecuador specifically, Pichincha’s Chamber for Tourism has
reported tourism represented 2,8% of its GDP in 2018, an equivalent of 3
billion dollars, so the blow to the country’s economy is quite
Tourism in numbers
The PCT also determined that in 2019, Ecuador saw a drop in tourist inflow, when compared to the previous
year, of at least 21%, with a total of 150.426 visitors arriving the country
last year to spend their leisure time. And in the case of Galapagos,
more than 275.000 tourists visited the Islands in 2018, of which at least 65%
were foreigners, as stated by the Ministry of Tourism. This data shows the
extreme strain the pandemic has caused to the Islands’ economy, as it is
globally perceived as an exotic paradise, now inaccessible to those who come
from more distant lands.
We ourselves have seen first hand how
tourists’ behavior quickly changed as the coronavirus took hold. They were
primarily afraid of staying at hotels which unknowingly host contaminated
people, and so in response, decided to cancel their scheduled excursions
with us. It makes us sad that this is happening, but we’re certain once
this blows over, everyone will be very happy to finally be able to come visit!
Would protective gear be enough?
The WHO has been uncertain
about the correct implementation and use of protective materials. It has been
discussed lately if face masks are really effective as protective gear, as it
was first recommended only for those who presented the virus’s symptoms.
Later on, the WHO changed its standing regarding masks, and said
everyone who is bound to carry on in their usual work activities or has the
need to go out for provisions, etc., should wear masks. So, it poses a question
on whether we’re indeed safe with the recommended measures. As we see
it, even if the quarantine is lifted at some point, we would still have
to enforce these protective measures, as long as there still isn’t a vaccine
for the virus.
Protective gear for tourists and
other implementations could prove ineffective, and of course we can’t put aside
the fact that crowding and large gatherings are also banned. The demand
for synthetic gloves has also risen, the circumstance being stores have run out
of stock, as people desperately searched for them on the first days of the quarantine.
What to look forward to on the days ahead
As quarantine days go by,
companies are still trying to figure out what to do during these hard times; in
that sense, we speak from our own experience. The presence of the coronavirus
in Ecuador has proven to be challenging for us, as we have had to continue to
plan for what comes next, even though our regular activities are on hold. And
while we’re glad to see animals in Galapagos are enjoying from low human
presence in the Islands, and level of carbon emissions go down all around the
world, we still yearn for everyone to be able to live the Fragata Yacht experience!
We are convinced we will get through
this! And while there’s still more waiting to do, and that there are more
things against us than in favor, we continue to be hopeful that we will be able
to bring everyone the joy they come looking for in Galapagos with our
Please, take care and #StayHome!