Developing eco-tourism business strategies for biodiversity conservation

Combining sustainable ecotourism with biological resource management
Promoting biodiversity friendly tourism
Sustainable development in touristic areas needs to reconcile the interests of the tourism industry, tourism satisfaction and the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity.

Recognizing the unique role of ecotourism - that is, tourism that relies on the existence and maintenance of biological diversity and habitats - and the need to develop clear strategies to develop sustainable ecotourism sectors which provides for full and effective participation and viable income-generating opportunities for indigenous and local communities.

The need to develop, with all the potential stakeholders, strategies and plans, based on the ecosystem approach and aiming at a balance between economic, social, cultural and environmental concerns, while maximizing opportunities for the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity, the equitable sharing of benefits and the recognition of traditional knowledge.

In many places the tourism industry relies on the country's diverse and unspoilt natural beauty, including unique species of plants and animals in national parks, wildlife reserves, bird parks and in marine parks and the adjacent coral reefs. In this context it is important to identify to what extent some sensitive areas should be protected from additional human interference caused by tourism and the tourism-carrying-capacity of some habitats and ecosystems.

In order to contribute to the sustainable use of biological diversity through tourism, there is a need to implement a flexible mix of instruments, such as integrated planning, multi-stakeholder dialogue that includes indigenous peoples, zoning in land-use planning, environmental impact assessment, strategic environmental assessment, standards, industry performance-recognition programmes, recognized accreditation bodies, ecolabelling, codes of good practice, environmental management and audit systems, economic instruments, indicators and limits regarding the carrying capacity of the natural areas.

The General Assembly of the United Nations, in its resolution 53/200 of 15th December 1998, proclaimed the year 2002 as the "International Year of Ecotourism."

The Member States of the European Union, the Member States of the Council of Europe, the [Convention on Biological Diversity] (CBD) Central and Eastern Countries Group see it as very important that the Conference of the Parties adopts the assessment of the interlinkages between biological diversity and tourism in SBSTTA recommendation IV/7 and accept the invitation to participate in the international work programme on sustainable tourism development under the CSD process with regard to biological diversity, in particular with a view to contributing to international guidelines for activities related to sustainable tourism development in vulnerable terrestrial, marine and coastal ecosystems and habitats of major importance for biological diversity and protected areas, including fragile mountain systems.

The most direct means of exploiting tourism for the sustainable use of biological resources is through the harnessing of some proportion of tourism revenues for that end. This may be achieved either through a generalized environmental tax on tourists or particular tourism activities or by charging fees for access to biological resources, the revenue from which can then be used for their maintenance. The latter procedure generally means charging entrance fees to national parks and other protected areas, but also includes fees for activities such as fishing, hunting and diving. Voluntary payment from visitors can also assist in conservation and management of places they visit. It may include donation, membership, sponsorship, merchandise and practical tasks.

In 1997, the [Berlin Declaration on Biological Diversity and Sustainable Tourism] adopted by an International Ministerial Conference in which governments, international organisations and national NGOs were represented elaborated general and specific principles as a framework for biodiversity friendly tourism. On a global scale, the [Berlin Declaration] sets out the basis for the development of global guidelines for the sustainable development of tourism within the framework of the [Convention on Biological Diversity] (CBD).

The Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly, held from 23 to 27 June 1997, asked its Commission on Sustainable development to develop an action-oriented international programme of work on sustainable tourism in co-operation with the World Tourism Organisation, the United Nations Environment Programme, the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity and other relevant Bodies.

In 1994, the Sustainable Tourism World Conference, held in Lanzarote, agreed on the [Charter for Sustainable Tourism].

In its decision on tourism and sustainable development the [Commission on Sustainable Development] (CSD) at its 7th meeting invited the Conference of the Parties to the [Convention on Biological Diversity] to further consider in the context of the process of the exchange of experiences, existing knowledge and best practice on sustainable tourism development and biological diversity with a view to contributing to international guidelines for activities related to sustainable tourism development in vulnerable terrestrial, marine and coastal ecosystems and habitats of major importance for biological diversity and protected areas, including fragile mountain systems.

The drawing up of guidelines on sustainable tourism as part of the implementation of the [Convention on Biological Diversity] was supported by the participants in the Council of Europe Colloquy on "Tourism and Environment: the natural, cultural and socio-economic challenges of sustainable tourism" (Riga, 9-11 September 1999).

1. Tourism is closely linked to the preservation of a healthy environment, which in turn is an essential element of tourism development and helps to raise public awareness on some biodiversity issues.
Counter Claim:
1. Tourism, in many areas, is providing extra resources and employment to local communities giving them additional motivation for the conservation of nature and protection of the environment. However, It is important to understand the limitations of a system of transfer of resources based on few tourists providing additional income to many members of local communities.
Type Classification:
E: Emanations of other strategies
Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 1: No PovertyGOAL 2: Zero HungerGOAL 3: Good Health and Well-beingGOAL 4: Quality EducationGOAL 5: Gender EqualityGOAL 6: Clean Water and SanitationGOAL 7: Affordable and Clean EnergyGOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic GrowthGOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and InfrastructureGOAL 10: Reduced InequalityGOAL 11: Sustainable Cities and CommunitiesGOAL 12: Responsible Consumption and ProductionGOAL 13: Climate ActionGOAL 14: Life Below WaterGOAL 15: Life on LandGOAL 16: Peace and Justice Strong InstitutionsGOAL 17: Partnerships to achieve the Goal