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IDB Invest and Quasar Expeditions Promote Sustainable Tourism in the Galapagos Islands


  • The project includes one of the first hybrid propulsion vessels, reducing the impact on the environment.


IDB Invest provided $14 million in financing to Quasar Expeditions, a leading tourism exploration company that offers maritime excursions in the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador. The financing comprises a $7 million loan from IDB Invest and a $7 million loan from Blue Earth Capital, a global impact investor focused on social development and climate change.


The project will help promote Quasar's growth plan and social sustainability agenda, which will benefit national workers and suppliers. Estimates show that purchases from micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) will grow to $2.8 million in the next three years.


“We are convinced that we must continue promoting responsible tourism projects like Quasar,” said Aitor Ezcurra, Chief Investment Officer (a.i.) of IDB Invest. “This project serves as 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.”


This project will promote sustainable business practices in the Galapagos Islands and introduces one of the first hybrid propulsion tourist vessels in the area, the construction of a low-density operations center and a community initiative to provide technical and educational training to the local community aboard a training vessel.


“The company will achieve a key objective in its vision of being a model for sustainable tourism,” said Eduardo Diez, Founder and Executive President of Quasar Expeditions. “The M/Y Conservation will be one of the first vessels in the Galapagos Islands with hybrid propulsion, capable of offering guests a cruising experience in total harmony with its natural environment. Through this project, we have been faithful to our pioneering spirit and embarked on a new era for Quasar and the Galapagos Islands.”


IDB Invest will also provide advisory services on gender, diversity and inclusion to promote practices that advance gender equality.


“We are thrilled to support Quasar’s efforts to reduce its own environmental footprint and to continue promoting high standards for responsible tourism in the Galapagos, one of the world’s most biodiverse locations," said Clara Sánchez, Head of Americas Private Credit at Blue Earth Capital. "Tourism is a fundamental driver of the Galapagos economy as well as a critical source of employment for local communities. At the same time, it’s important that the sector continues to innovate and adapt to the challenges of decarbonization. BlueEarth’s partnership with IDB Invest and Quasar is an important step in promoting sustainable tourism and supporting Ecuador’s ambitious energy transition plans for the islands.”


The project is expected to contribute to four United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): Decent Work and Economic Growth (SDG 8), Responsible Production and Consumption (SDG 12), Climate Action (SDG 13), and Partnerships for the Goals (SDG 17).


About IDB Invest

IDB Invest, a member of the Inter-American Development Bank Group, is a multilateral development bank committed to promoting the economic development of its member countries in Latin America and the Caribbean through the private sector. IDB Invest finances sustainable companies and projects to achieve financial results and maximize economic, social, and environmental development in the region. With a portfolio of $21 billion in assets under management and 394 clients in 25 countries, IDB Invest provides innovative financial solutions and advisory services that meet the needs of its clients in a variety of industries.


About Quasar Expeditions

Founded in 1986, Quasar Expeditions is a private, family-owned small boat exploration company offering sightseeing tours in the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador. The company has a history of more than 35 years operating in the region and was one of the first maritime tourism companies in the area. Quasar has won multiple international recognitions, including: Travel & Leisure Best Travel’s Award, Afar Traveler’s Choice Awards, Conde Nast Reader’s Choice Awards, Lux Magazine Global Excellence Awards.


About Blue Earth Capital

Blue Earth Capital is a global, independent, specialist impact investor, headquartered in Switzerland, with operations in New York, London, and Konstanz. Blue Earth Capital seeks to address the world’s most pressing social and environmental challenges by delivering measurable impact alongside aiming for attractive and market-rate financial returns. The company operates dedicated private equity, private credit, and fund solutions. Blue Earth Capital is owned by the Blue Earth Foundation, a Stiftung (charity/trust) registered in Switzerland that focuses on deep impact to support initiatives and business ventures to help deliver a more equitable and sustainable future.