I’m posting this article from the Ecuadorian Rivers Institute – July 23, 2013! The Upper Jondachi River in Ecuador is currently threatened by a proposal for a dam and hydroelectric plan. Over a two-month period from May 13 – July 13, 2013, 225 paddlers from around the world responded to the ERI’s online Jondachi River Use Survey, providing valuable information about the economic revenue generated from recreational use of the Jondachi River, as well as user preferences and opinions about the importance of the Upper Jondachi River for paddle sports tourism in Ecuador.
The results of the survey prove that the Upper Jondachi River is an important tourism destination, and that the Upper Jondachi represents a significant contribution to the local economy. Upper Jondachi paddlers alone contribute over USD $1.1 million dollars per year to the local economies in tourism revenues, with an average stay of 21 days, and spending an average of USD $101 per day, primarily in Tena and Baeza. The Upper Jondachi is a major draw and attraction for paddlers coming to Ecuador, with 87% of respondents affirming that the prospect of paddling the Jondachi River influenced their decision to travel to Ecuador, and 99% of the respondents recommended going to Ecuador to paddle the Upper Jondachi. Meanwhile, 92% of respondents consider the Upper Jondachi as being important or very important to them, for its quality of whitewater, scenery and recreational values, and plan to return to Ecuador to paddle the Jondachi again. Finally, 52% of respondents indicated that they would not return to Ecuador if they were unable to paddle the Upper Jondachi due to a hydroelectric project, and an additional 45% of participants said they would reconsider their decision to return to Ecuador if the Upper Jondachi was unrunnable.
These important results from the Jondachi River Use Survey are being used by the ERI to prove to the Ecuadorian government that the Jondachi River is, in fact, an irreplaceable and important recreation and tourism attraction, and show that losing this resource would eliminate a significant sustainable local economy. Oh behalf of the ERI, thanks to everyone who participated in this important user survey, and for your continued support of the ERI and the rivers we strive to protect.