Latin America | April 8, 2024

Sustainable tourism in the Galapagos Islands gets a boost with Quasar Expeditions’ $14 million loan

Jessica Pothering
ImpactAlpha Editor

Jessica Pothering

Tourism, a key source of livelihoods in communities in the Galapagos, also poses a major threat to the ecosystem’s stunning biodiversity. Quasar Expeditions is “a model for other tourism operators, the local community and public institutions to support sustainable tourism practices that are essential to protect the Galapagos ecosystem,” said Aitor Ezcurra of IDB Invest, the venture arm of the Inter-American Development Bank.

IDB Invest and Blue Earth Capital provided $14 million in debt capital to help Quasar introduce more eco-friendly tour boats and training programs for local communities.

Last year, Ecuador inked the largest ever debt-for-nature swap, allowing the country to refinance a portion of its debt at a lower rate in exchange for environmental protection, restoration and conservation commitments in the Galapagos Islands. The $1.6 billion swap allows the country to invest in technology, park ranger training and other wildlife protection practices.

The Inter-American Development Bank provided an $85 million guarantee. The US International Development Finance Corp. provided $656 million in political risk insurance coverage for the swap at a time when the South American country is marked by political tumult and security issues.