I have been most fortunate to visit the Galapagos in Ecuador recently, and also the Cloud Forest north of the capital Quito. The Ecuadorean government restricts the number of visitors to the Galapagos, requires all visitors who want to go to the uninhabited islands to have a guide, and only charges a quite modest amount by way of park permits. The country is, of course, not a rich one. It has oil, but has adopted a 'protectionist' stance, keeping the price of propane and petrol low and having high import tariffs. It could exploit its wonderful natural resources, like the Galapagos, much more vigourously: allow more tourists, charge more for permits, etc. But it has chosen not to do so, and it clearly trying now to conserve its wonderful natural resouces.
As ever with this blog, I compare the situation with Australia. We have the barrier reef, which is a thing of wonder comparable to anywhere in the world. Yet we contemplate a coal loader at Gladstone and we allow bulk carriers to pass through the reef. We don't seem to care the way the Ecuadoreans do.
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