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Sunday, February 17, 2013

Guy Harvey Outpost Resorts Announces Expansion to The Galapagos Islands

At a press conference held today at the Miami International Boat Show, Dr. Guy Harvey, Chairman of Guy Harvey Outpost Resorts, announced the company’s entry into in the Galapagos Islands.   Dr. Harvey said his growing Outpost Resorts company has teamed with two separate Ecuadorian owner groups to plant Outpost flags on the islands of San Cristobal and Isabela in the Galapagos archipelago, located 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador.

Company co-founder and president Mark Ellert, who recently returned from meetings with the Galapagos Park director and location municipal officials, commented: “I know of no other tourism company operating in the Galapagos that has a scientist and conservation authority as its chairman, and a research institute as a brand partner.  For these reason the park sees our interest in Galapagos as a game changer.”

On San Cristobal, the easternmost island, the company will open a new 30-unit eco-lodge on a highlands site with panoramic vistas of the Pacific Ocean and a foreground of open fields through which giant Galapagos turtles roam.  It will be branded the “Guy Harvey Outpost Lodge, Galapagos Islands” and is expected to open in early 2016.

Arturo Hidalgo Keyser and Jose Antonio Juez Jairala, both of Ecuador and Miami, are co-developers of the project. “I basically grew up in the Galapagos,” notes Keyser.  “My lifelong dream to create a truly special tourism project in the Galapagos is becoming a reality with the involvement of Guy Harvey.”  Adds Jairala, “the Outpost commitment to science and sustainable tourism will make this the first truly authentic eco-lodge experience in the Galapagos.”  The project team includes Hitesh Mehta, one of the world’s leading authorities on ecotourism planning and both the landscape and architectural design of eco-lodges.

And while the new lodge is under construction, Guy Harvey Outpost has raised its flag above the recently opened Iguana Crossing boutique hotel, located on Isabella Island, approximately 100 miles to the west.  Ranked the top lodging property in the Galapagos by TripAdvisor and winner of its 2013 Traveler’s Choice Award for Best Service, this 14-unit contemporary styled hotel sits beachside in the shadow of the Wolf Volcano in the settlement of Puerto Villamil, with a population of some 2,200.  As the westernmost settlement in the Galapagos, its harbor is a popular stop for private yachts traveling to the southern pacific.

In announcing the affiliation, its’ visionary developer Felipe Trujilo, comments, “as a passionate sport fisherman and scuba diver, I immediately understood the exposure and opportunities Guy Harvey and his Outpost hotel brand will create for the Galapagos and our Iguana Crossing hotel.  Our TripAdvisor popularity and awards demonstrates the dedication of my staff to delivering superior service and memorable experiences, and we look forward to sharing our unique wildlife paradise with Guy and his adventure travel customers.”

With a landscape is dominated by the Sierra Negra that rises to 5,600 ft. above sea level, Isabela is the only natural Penguin habitat in the northern hemisphere and offers diverse scuba diving experiences.

The Galapagos archipelago consists of approximately 120 islands and rock outcroppings spread over 17,000 square miles of water. Designated a national park in 1959, the Galapagos today has a current population of approximately 25,000. Strictly regulated and limited by the Ecuadorian government, development is restricted to four islands.  Cruise and dive live-aboard ships are limited to 100 passengers and visitation is restricted to 116 designated visitor sites, of which 54 are land and 62 are Scuba/snorkel sites.

The Galapagos and surrounding waters are one of the world’s foremost eco-tourism destinations, and the inspiration for Charles Darwin’s Theory of Natural Selection. In making the announcement, Ellert noted, “it is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to associate Guy’s internationally respected brand of conservation advocacy with the Galapagos Islands as a bucket-list destination for travelers to experience truly unique wildlife interaction.  Working closely with the Ecuadorean national parks department, we intend to showcase scientific research and sustainability practices that will protect this important yet fragile wildlife ecosystem.”

In explaining his strategy for the Galapagos, Ellert commented: “The parks department is shifting attention to land based tourism away from cruise ships as a way to keep tourism dollars in the local economy.  Island-hopping will become the dominant travel pattern and Outpost will need to offer a diversity of experience commensurate with the vast diversity of wildlife throughout the archipelago.” 

Dr. Harvey, an avid diver, acclaimed underwater filmmaker and frequent visitor added: “The Galapagos is without question one of the best diving experiences to be had.  I know firsthand, however, that not everyone enjoys the confines imposed by dive live-aboards or small cruise ships.  As land based operations, our Outpost properties will open up the Galapagos to everyone who enjoys diving and adventure travel yet appreciates the comfort of retiring each night to a bungalow or suite.”

In keeping with its mission of supporting sustainable tourism, The Guy Harvey Outpost Resorts is working with the Parks department to develop a program to improve sustainable fishing skills of the island’s many artisanal fisherman, while simultaneously working with tourism officials to develop hospitality service training programs for aspiring recreational sportfishing and diving operators.

“Guy’s scientific and conservation work is well known and respected locally,” noted Ellert, “so we come to the Galapagos as a known commodity with credibility most developers lack.”  

“The Outpost motto is ‘From the Oceans, Comes Life’,” added Dr. Harvey. “In meetings with department staff, elected officials and local residents we’ve underscored our intent to conduct and showcase scientific research and sustainability practices that will protect this important yet fragile wildlife ecosystem resource.  We are all stewards of the resource.  By keeping it healthy, both our guests and our friends here in Galapagos can enjoy a life of great experiences that this ocean has to offer.”


About Guy Harvey Outpost Resorts

Guy Harvey Outpost Resorts is based in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.  The company’s Signature Properties operate under the Guy Harvey Outpost brand name, the most recent opening of TradeWinds Sandpiper Suites in St. Pete Beach, Florida. Signature Outpost Resort projects are in active development throughout Florida, including Islamorada, Florida, in the popular Florida Keys and on St. Augustine Beach, not far from Marine Land Park.

 Expedition Properties are Outpost branded boutique hotels in unique watersport destinations that offer superior service and amenities.  Member hotels enjoy access to Outpost marketing and its reservation system and on-line booking engine.  To date, 
the Bahamas has been the target for Expedition Properties including, Old Bahama Bay Resort & Yacht Harbour at West End, Grand Bahama Island and the Green Turtle Club and Blackfly Bonefish Lodge, both in the Abaco Islands. Expedition Properties in active development include the Dominican Republic and Costa Rica.

All Guy Harvey Outpost properties feature beach, boating, fishing and diving programs and amenities.  In keeping with the reputation of Guy Harvey as a unique blend of artist, scientist, diver, angler, conservationist and explorer, fiercely devoted to his family and his love of the sea, the company’s mission is to inspire travel to unique destinations, promote sustainability and engage guests in environmentally responsible and memorable recreational activities.

About Guy Harvey

Guy Harvey is a unique blend of artist, scientist, diver, angler, conservationist and explorer, fiercely devoted to his family and his love of the sea. Growing up in Jamaica, Guy spent many hours fishing and diving with his father along the Island's south coast. He was obsessed with marine life and began drawing pictures of the many different fish he observed.

Born in Lippspringe, Germany while his father was serving as a Gunnery Officer in the British Army, Guy is a 10th generation Jamaican of English heritage as his family immigrated to Jamaica in 1664. From his early inspirations, Guy's natural gift to recreate the underwater realm has propelled him from Professor of Marine Biology to a Wildlife Artist and Photographer. Guy initially opted for a scientific education, earning a Doctorate in Fisheries Management from the University of West Indies.

In 1985, he depicted Ernest Hemingway's famous fishing story The Old Man & the Sea through a series of 44 original pen and ink drawings and displayed them at an exhibition in Jamaica. Based on the positive response he received at the show, Guy began painting full time and by 1988 was providing custom artwork for use on a variety of products.

Guy began to travel the world to gain more knowledge of the behavior and activities of marine wildlife. He became an avid scuba diver and skilled underwater photographer. He pioneered a technique of diving and photographing free-swimming billfish. His personal observations made during these diving expeditions have better enabled him to capture the detail in his paintings that contributes to the popularity of his work.

As an ardent conservationist, Guy has consistently supported "catch and release" fishing ethics for game fish around the world. He works closely with many conservation organizations to help protect global fishery resources. In 1992 he was appointed as a Trustee of the International Game Fish Association (IGFA). Since then, Guy was voted the IGFA's first ever "Lifetime Achievement Award" and was inducted into the IGFA Fishing Hall of Fame. In 2010, Guy received the Vasco Nunez de Balboa Grand Officer Award, the highest honor the country of Panama can bestow on a non-Panamanian, for his billfish conservation work in the area. More recently, Guy was awarded the Simon Combes Conservation Award from the Artists for Conservation organization.

Guy currently maintains his art studio in Grand Cayman, where he lives with wife Gillian and their two children, Jessica and Alex. Whenever possible, Guy takes his family on fishing and field research trips. As a result, there is a new generation of Harveys demonstrating their father's love and respect of the ocean and all of its creatures.