Executive Summary

The World Bank’s Nature-Based Tourism (NBT) Community of Practice commissioned a comprehensive review of the tools and knowledge resources with the aim of helping WBG staff prepare and implement better projects. The objectives were to:

  • provide a comprehensive review established NBT resources (i.e. guidelines, “how-to”, best practices) to help nature-based tourism practitioners to understand better the key issues relating to NBT, including the diversity of activities, alternative approaches, and best practices.
  • generate a consolidated list of tools and resources that are available
  • identify gaps in knowledge.

An online literature review combined with online consultation survey with over 112 practitioners elicited over 360 technical resources and institutions working on NBT. Highlights of the analysis include:

  • A review of international agreements that NBT contribute to, including frameworks and decisions of the United Nations (UN), the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).
  • A compendium of best practice guidance on NBT, including guidelines, case studies, and books established for different parts of the world, and a variety of types of NBT (e.g. wildlife tourism, hunting, marine tourism, and forest areas).
  • Toolkits that support NBT planning for destinations and also enterprises, including step-by-step processes, practical examples and templates.
  • Enabling policy environment and planning resources, including guidelines, manuals, handbooks, strategies and examples of policy instruments.
  • Concessioning and partnership tools to that help destination managers, including guidance on institutional frameworks that boost partnerships with local communities.
  • Destination management resources including background reading resources in key issues, case study examples of good practices, and practical tools.
  • Guidance on the development of infrastructure and facilities that support conservation objectives, including for accommodation (e.g. lodges, campsites, cabins), access (e.g. roads, hiking trails, boardwalks, bridges, signage), experiences (e.g. cliff and treetop walks, mooring points, viewpoints, visitor centres) and provide support (e.g. retail and catering facilities) .
  • Principles and frameworks for visitor management, coupled with practical tools and guidelines.
  • Information for individuals and enterprising that want to plan, design and operate NBT sustainably, with materials relevant for different countries and types of NBT (e.g. community-based NBT, adventure tourism, geotourism, and tourism indifferent ecosystems).
  • Materials that provide comprehensive analyses of the impacts of NBT on natural resources, local economies, culture and society, and tourists – and also links to resources and tools that can be used to maximize the net-benefits of NBT.
  • Guidance, tools and strategies for both risk management and monitoring and evaluation for NBT, including standards, indicators and certification systems.
  • Training courses, manuals and materials including webinars on pertinent NBT topics, including tourism and visitor management, protected areas tourism, standards and interpretation.
  • Nearly 50 institutions, networks and information platforms supporting guidance on NBT internationally.

Despite the diversity and depth of resources identified, some gaps remain, and it is clear that many of the resources currently available are not widely known or used. Furthermore, given the extensive and diverse resources identified in this report, it may be challenging for managers within and outside the World Bank to review and apply them. Recommendations proposed to address these issues include the following:

  1. Establish a technical focal point or unit on NBT to provide targeted support technical guidance, and guide project managers towards the most appropriate resources or approaches. The focal point would:
    • Provide support to World Bank staff, clients and consultants involved in the design, implementation or evaluation of projects to ensure that they are fully appraised of the most relevant best practice guidance in a particular destination, or under specific circumstances.
    • Organize and facilitate webinars and trainings on specific topics on a regular basis, in conjunction with short briefing papers.
  2. Develop a ‘one-stop’ platform for NBT tools and resources that is comprehensive, easy to search, so that people can easily find and access materials, at little or no cost. The platform would on existing platforms and directories provided by institutions such as the World Bank , OnePlanet , IUCN or alternatively through more general platforms such as ResearchGate and libraries that provide document hosting functions. As part of the platform, this report can be adapted to form an e-book, using the database of resources identified (see Annex 1).
  3. Create new tools and resources that are strategic and game-changing , and also directly correspond with the needs that World Bank staff and clients have. The priority themes are:
    • Overtourism and undertourism , with practical tools and approaches that destination managers can apply quickly, reliably and in line with best practices.
    • Tourism concessions and investment, including the completion and dissemination of planning and procurement tools and templates, coupled with training for World Bank staff and consultants.
    • Climate change and nature-based tourism , with guidance to help natural destination managers, NBT operators, and travellers, to understand, avoid and mitigate climate change impacts.
    • Hunting, to establish global standards for sustainable hunting, coupled with evidence of its impacts on conservation and livelihoods and guidance that clarifies the differences between illegal poaching of wildlife and legal hunting.
  4. More than the availability or otherwise of resources and tools, it is the awareness and use of existing tools by Bank project managers and specialists where greater effort is needed. Greater understanding of the critical nature of the conservation dimension of nature-based tourism is needed, and guidance on how to integrate this with project design .”