Scientists have only begun to scratch the surface of the Yasuni National Park
An article in the Smithsonian magazine highlights the rich ecosystem in the Ecuador's Yasuni National Park. Home to countless species of birds, plants, mammals and other wildlife, Yasuni is the ideal spot for holidaymakers interested in eco-friendly holidays.
The Yasuni National Park in Ecuador is without a doubt one of the most biodiverse places on earth. Located in the heart of Ecuador's Amazon rainforest, Yasuni is bursting with life with millions of species of flora and fauna including kapok trees, tarantulas, toucans, spider monkeys and jaguars.
A single sector of the Yasuni is estimated to house 644 tree species, more than all of North America. Remarkably there are so many more species to be discovered as scientists have only begun to scratch the surface of the Yasuni.
Dr David Romo, the co director of Tiputini Biodiversity Statoil-Universidad San Francisco de Quito explained:
"I have been going there since I've been nine years old. There isn't a single time, to this day, when I make a trip, that I don't end up seeing something for the first time… it's just amazing the things that are happening in Yasuni".
Oil and gas interests however pose a threat to the delicate balance in the Yasuni National Park-which is also said to contain up to 800 million barrels of crude oil. In 2007 President, Rafael Correa decided to place a moratorium on oil drilling in the area in 2007 in exchange for international donations to replace the estimated revenue from oil exploration.
Controversially, Correa subsequently overturned the moratorium in 2013 as donations fell far below the set goal of $3.5 billion. One positive outcome of Correa's move, however, has been increased international awareness of Yasuni and with that has come an increase in the number of travellers booking eco-friendly holidays in the Ecuadorian Amazon.
Ecuador's tourism industry has, in terms of number of arrivals, outperformed the global average over the past four years. In 2014 the number of arrivals increased by 14.4 per cent in 2014 when compared to the previous year. Sandra Naranjo, the Tourism Minister of Ecuador stated that the key to Ecuador's success is that it has everything in one place, she said:
"If you go to the Amazon in Peru the distances are vast. It is difficult to get anywhere else.
"In Ecuador, you could have breakfast in the Amazon, lunch under a tree in Quito, and drive an hour north to the province of the lakes. Then drive an hour to the volcanoes".
Currently Ecuador is launching the second phase of its "All you need is Ecuador" multi million dollar marketing campaign aimed at further boosting awareness of the country's tourism product and enticing more holidaymakers to book Ecuador holidays.
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