There are many guidance tools that have been developed by academics, development agencies, and non-governmental organizations on tourism in protected and natural areas that can be used to guide project design and implementation. This section of the report provides an overview of tools that can be used broadly for planning nature-based tourism initiatives, and then highlights tools on specific topics.
There are several resources that introduce key concepts that underpin sustainable NBT, and highlight best practices that provide a good basis for any planning and design process.
The World Bank’s Supporting sustainable livelihoods through wildlife tourism explores innovative tourism partnership and investment opportunities to help countries unlock smart investment and grow tourism sustainably. It provides an overview of sustainable wildlife tourism experiences, the types of social, economic and environmental impacts, community participation and partnership models, and also considerations for the enabling environment and management. A briefing document on NBT issues and an overview of relevant WBG projects can also be found in Ramping up nature-based tourism to protect biodiversity and boost livelihoods.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Best Practice Guidelines on Tourism and visitation in protected areas : Guidelines for sustainability recognise that managing protected area tourism is a complex technical task requiring high levels of skill and knowledge. These comprehensive guidelines provide information on the impacts of protected area tourism on the environment, society, and economy; they highlight key 10 principles for planning and management; address capacity building; and provide guidance on the generation and management of tourism revenues. These guidelines expand and update a previous IUCN Best Practice Guideline on Sustainable tourism in protected areas: Guidelines for planning and management . The guidelines are also the basis for an IUCN Massive Online Open Course on Valorisation of protected area resources , which contains three modules dedicated to the best practice guidelines. The associated Online resources directory provides access to the materials used within the guidelines, additional readings and invites users to share new resources on this topic.
From the CBD and United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) comes A good practice guide: tourism for nature and development , which aims to provide stakeholders with the tools to make the tourism sector more biodiversity friendly, and more socially just. It introduces public decision-makers to the available toolbox of techniques, technologies and procedures that optimize the social and environmental contributions of tourism and minimize negative impact. The guide covers policy and strategy tools, legal and normative tools, monitoring and evaluation, market-based instruments, capacity building and promotion. The Compendium of Best Practices in Sustainable Tourism also shares best practice case studies in sustainable ecotourism gathered from 17 countries, which have potential for replication elsewhere. These best practices include destination management organisations, tour operators, accommodation, NGOs and also an airline. A report from an Expert group meeting on sustainable tourism: Ecotourism, poverty reduction and environmental protection is a further compendium of meeting reports and presentation papers from a United Nations meeting on the topic. Themes covered included financing ecotourism investments and their markets; planning, marketing and destination management; assessing socio-economic impacts and poverty reduction; enhancing environmental protection, and partnerships for international cooperation.
Some best practice guidelines have been developed for specific regionals and countries, including the following resources:
Several textbooks provide a good underlying understanding of NBT best practices, and in particular in on ecotourism. The book Nature tourism describes the benefits and pitfalls in recent developments of NBT, tracing the history in development, highlighting the ecological impacts and showcasing the current practices. The publication includes discussions on specific tourist markets from holistic viewpoints embracing lessons learned from various destination nations and continents across the globe. The International handbook on ecotourism provides an overview of ecotourism issues, concepts and challenges, behavior and visitor experiences, and how to practice it. For example, it includes chapters relating to the planning and certification of ecotourism. Ecotourism is a broad based textbook that provides a basis for studies on NBT, with topics such as policy and planning, business, products, marketing, guiding and interpretation, and impacts on conservation, communities and the economy. Ecotourism: Transitioning to the 22 nd centur y is another broad textbook on the topic, it addresses sustainability, the enabling environment, natural resource management, professionalization of the sector, interpretation, communities, marketing and education. Ecotourism: principles, practices and policies for sustainability explains the components for successful ecotourism illustrated with a series of practical case studies.
Books focusing particularly on protected areas include Tourism and national parks , which examines how and why national parks have spread and evolved, how they have been fashioned and used, and the integral role of tourism within national parks. Case study chapters from around the world including insights from across the world, including form the United States of America (USA), Canada, Australia, United Kingdom (UK), Spain, France, Sweden, Indonesia, China and Southern Africa. Tourism in national parks and protected areas describes state of the art of tourism planning and management in national parks and protected areas, and provides guidelines for best practice in tourism operations. Based on a journal special edition of the same name, Protected areas, sustainable tourism and neo-liberal governance policies is an international collection of papers that explores neo-liberal politics, performance metrics the values that protected areas have for economies, peoples and environments. Also, the book Tourism and protected areas provides a record of the tourism issues discussed at the 2003 World Parks Congress and prospective important issues for the following decade.
On wildlife tourism specifically, the book Wilderness of wildlife tourism is a collected volume of papers that addresses its implications for management, local communities, marketing, technology, education, corporations, and policymaking. Wildlife tourism: Impacts, management, and planning is a volume of papers on wildlife tourism issues, including zoos, wildlife watching, hunting and fishing. The book considers social, economic and environmental impacts of wildlife tourism, and also managing the business side of the sector.
As a form of wildlife tourism, trophy hunting is often a contentious activity, with people supporting or opposing it on a variety of biological, economic, ideological or cultural bases. The book Tourism and the consumption of wildlife addresses a range of contentious issues facing the consumptive wildlife tourism sector across a number of destinations in Europe, North America, Africa, India, Arabia and Oceania. Issues debated include trophy hunting of threatened species, and hunting for conservation, along with the impact of hunting tourism on indigenous communities and on wider societies. The IUCN Species Survival Commission Guiding Principles on trophy hunting as a tool for creating conservation incentives provides guiding principles on the use of “trophy hunting” as a tool for conserving species and their habitats, and for the equitable sharing of the benefits. Two case studies on hunting in Pakistan and Namibia are included within the report. Best practices in sustainable hunting: A guide to best practices from around the world provides a collation of research and papers on trophy hunting from researchers and NGOs drawn from across Asia, Africa and Latin America. The other side of the ecotourism coin: Consumptive tourism in southern Africa also discusses aspects of perception, consumption and conservation of wildlife in relation to the north-south divide relating to sport and trophy hunting in Namibia and Botswana.
Some books and resources focus on best practice NBT in particular ecosystems and habitats. These include:
Box 1 : Best practice guidance for snorkelling
Further books on NBT that focus on specific regions and countries regions include:
There are a number of diagnostic tools that can be used as a basis for planning NBT destinations globally. Linking communities, tourism and conservation: A tourism assessment process is a toolkit that provides a planning framework to help conduct inventories of attractions, analyze market demand and competitiveness, and investigate associated socio-cultural and natural resource use issues. It provides a series of helpful templates, including checklists and questionnaires.
UNESCO’s World Heritage Sustainable Tourism Toolkit contains a series of ‘How to’ guides that can be use by World Heritage Site (WHS) managers and others to make positive changes to the way they manage tourism. The guides are structured as a step-by-step process for site managers (see Figure 1). These help to establish the basic foundations for sustainable tourism (in yellow), and then address more specific issues (in orange). As part of the toolkit, the Visitor Management Assessment Tool (VMAT) is an online tool that enables WHS managers to evaluate their progress in sustainable tourism management, and diagnose areas where more attention is needed ( insert link when ready – requested)
A toolkit to develop and promote sustainable tourism in Latin America describes process that can help tourism entrepreneurs improve their sustainability, by developing new sustainable products and services or improving existing ones. Through three modules, it provides a background for the identification of sustainability issues faced by enterprises and destinations, and recommends actions to overcome them. It also offers marketing recommendations to position those products in the market. The toolkit provides as well inspirational examples, sources of information and contacts as well.
Resources for development of a nature-based tourism industry were identified and assessed in the Central Coast Region of Western Australia. An assessment framework was developed that used checklists, matrices and indicators to establish levels of attraction, accessibility, presence of infrastructure and the level of environmental degradation. Data were gathered using a checklist approach to quantify characteristics of sites. The assessment revealed that the attraction diversity in the Region was high, but there was poor accessibility, low levels of tourism infrastructure and moderate levels of environmental degradation.
Country-specific planning resources are also available. These include:
Governments, and their enabling policy and planning frameworks, provide the context for NBT to take place. These frameworks are critically important in establishing the conditions for tourism, including zoning, infrastructure and the involvement of local communities. Laws and regulations can be used to regulate the sector, provide direction on benefit sharing, and safeguard natural resources, and also to fund biodiversity conservation and the management of protected areas. Planning for NBT needs to address elements of rural development and local economic development within destinations. When done well, it can provide a road map for local employment creation, opportunities for local producers and service providers, and for the local ownership and management of enterprises. Such planning needs to be embedded within any broader process of planning of a destination where this exists.
The strategic value of tourism for parks and protected areas – management responses to planning cycles and growing demands was the subject of the World Protected Areas Leaders’ Forum in Australia in 2019. Almost all agencies present reported managing increased visitation at popular sites and during peak periods, with many reporting overcrowding (or overtourism) as a significant challenge. This appears to be, in part related to the rise of social media. Due to the pressures of large numbers of visitors on natural areas and visitor sites, many agencies are now looking to better balance their primary role of protected area land managers - conservation - with the demands and challenges of tourism and increased visitation.
They have a need to stronger legal and institutional frameworks to establish more coherent and coordinated approaches.
Resources on the policy environment for NBT include the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) Tourism concessions in protected natural areas: Guidelines for managers which provides useful guidance on the enabling environment, including templates for policies, laws and regulations. Books that include chapters relating to policy include Ecotourism , The Routledge Handbook of Tourism and the Environment and also Nature tourism, conservation, and development in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa . To illustrate, Namibia’s National policy on tourism and wildlife concessions on state land provides a practical example of a national policy for outsourcing tourism to non-state actors in the country (e.g. conservancies and the private sector). As another example, New Zealand’s Department of Conservation has a Visitor strategy , which aims to support goals of protection, fostering visits, managing tourism concessions on protected lands, informing and educating visitors, and visitor safety. For an overview of policy tools, the Baseline report on the integration of sustainable consumption and production patterns into tourism policies describes the types of policy instrument that can be applied during different phases of tourism development, and which are applicable to NBT (see Table 5 ).
Table 5: Examples of policy instruments in use in tourism destination at different stages of the tourism life cycle 19
|Types of policy instrument||Phases of life-cycle|
|Extraction of natural resources||Manufacturing and production processes||Provision of sustainable products, services and works||Use and consumption|
|Regulatory and legal instruments||Regulation of access and activities in vulnerable areas, cultural and natural heritage sites||
on water and energy efficient technologies, reuse and recycling of water, use of renewable energy
|Regulations regarding construction materials and environmental standards of products||Regulations on visitor management and capacity|
|Economic and fiscal instruments||
Fees for national parks and natural reserves, and protected areas for nature conservation as
for other attractions
Grants, soft loans or tax credits for investments
in eco- technologies (water, energy, etc.) and the reduction of emissions
|Funding schemes for sustainable business development||Tourism tax earmarked for environmental action (beach cleaning, waste infrastructure, awareness raising)|
|Communication and voluntary instruments||Public-private partnerships for sustainable tourism and networks involving local communities||Corporate social responsibility in the tourism sector||Certification schemes and guidelines for responsible operations||Available information on sustainability issues and codes of conduct|
There are a number of resources that provide guidance on planning for NBT. For example:
There are several examples of analyses of policy and planning contexts for NBT. To illustrate, Tourism planning in natural World Heritage Sites is a research report that analyses the level of tourism planning at 229 natural and mixed World Heritage Sites. The recommendations arising from the analysis included that tourism planning in these sites needs to be extended; ideally under a unified framework that allows some consistency across areas in terms of indicators and methods. For a country-level example, Tanzania’s tourism futures: harnessing natural assets is a World Bank analysis of a national tourism sector. It presents challenges and opportunities for linking tourism and rural economies, and the economic consequences of concentrated tourism. Recommendations to government are provided to maintain and enhance high-value low-density tourism are provided, including diversification of the tourism product. Case study examples of tourism in the Serengeti ecosystem and Ruaha National Park are used as illustrations. This provides a good example of a diagnostic study of NBT, making the case for future interventions. For a regional analysis example, Transboundary ecotourism guidelines for the Sava River Basin address transboundary tourism master planning and the management of wetlands, sustainable economic development, stakeholder involvement and participation, and conserving and enhancing biodiversity. The guidelines incorporate three considerations for ecotourism development: 1) a shared goal for protecting the environment and encouraging sustainable development, 2) a desire to create a green economy offering green jobs to generate economic growth, and 3) transboundary cooperation. A series of transboundary tourism case studies are also shared. Also, the Impact of tourism on wildlife conservation aims to support Supreme Audit Institutions, who can influence governments to make management decisions for protecting and conserving wildlife environment. The report provides information on wildlife tourism, regulations and international agreements, good practices and audits related to tourism and wildlife.
With respect to tools to guide the planning process, Ecotourism development: A manual for conservation planners and managers; Volume II: The business of ecotourism development and management outlines the business planning process for ecotourism in order to promote viable business partnerships with communities or private tourism operators. It includes sections on zoning protected areas for visitor use, site planning, sustainable infrastructure design, revenue generating mechanisms, and visitor impact monitoring. It also includes strategies including business considerations, the role of conservation managers, developing partnerships with tour operators, feasibility analysis and business planning. Also, the Conservation Travel Readiness Scorecard is a spreadsheet-based model that can help in the analysis of supporting policies for NBT. The scorecard helps countries to rate their existing capacity to harness tourism as an incentive for community-based conservation (see illustration in Figure 2 ).
Figure 2: Conservation Travel Readiness Scorecard
Nature-based tourism often takes place in protected areas. The authorities need to consider the level of NBT services that are provided, the method of delivery of the service, the financing for each service, and whether they are insourced, or outsourced. With insourcing, protected area authority staff both deliver and finance the service, functioning like a business to provide visitor services. For outsourcing, the protected area contracts a third party to deliver a service. Transferring rights to use land to other organizations can relieve public agencies from resource constraints of budget, capability, or expertise. Methods of outsourcing can include concessions, public-private-partnerships, leases, licenses and permits. Deciding whether to insource or outsource depends upon current government policy and the capabilities of the protected area authority in regards to business operation (see Figure 3).
Forging links between protected areas and the tourism sector: How
tourism can benefit conservation
a manual to provide practical guidance to managers of World Heritage sites and other protected
areas on better ways of understanding the tourism industry. It also shares effective
step-by-step methods that can be used by protected area managers to develop links with tourism
to promote conservation and site protection. The manual also describes what can be realistically
expected from the tourism industry in terms of support for conservation.
The World Bank Group’s An introduction to tourism concessioning: 14 Characteristics of successful programs can be used during the conceptualisation of an outsourcing program to provide the right condition for effectiveness. It describes the importance of key elements including conservation of the natural resource base and sustainability, community participation and stakeholder engagement, the enabling policy environment and concession models, procurement procedures, market viability and management of risk. Other World Bank tools that are not currently available for use include a more detailed step-by-step guide for WBG staff, which is in draft form, 22 and the IFC Anchor Investment Generation Manual 23 . The manual was developed following investment facilitation work by the IFC in Mozambique and Sierra Leone and Mozambique. Furthermore, there is spreadsheet-based model that has been developed for authorities and investors to predict commercial viability and the Internal Rate of Return of investments over concession periods. During the development of the CBD concession guidelines, training was provided to protected area managers on how to use this tool, and it was clear that it would be valuable to others, if made more widely available. 24
The CBD’s Guidelines for tourism partnerships and concessions for protected areas were developed through a consultative process with protected area managers and tourism stakeholders. Guidance is provided on partnership types, sources of finance, the legal framework and sustainability are followed by a step-by-step guide through scoping, design and feasibility, procurement and contracting, and contract management. A series of links to other resources are also shared, including country-specific tools used in Africa, such as concession policies, manuals, and training resources. These guidelines are currently available in English , French , Portuguese and Spanish .
UNDP’s Tourism concessions in protected natural areas: Guidelines for managers provides useful materials for the design and operation of concession programs. These include templates (e.g. for policies, laws and regulations); checklists (e.g. for human resource requirements) and case study examples from across the world (e.g. revenues generated and fees charged). The guideline makes clear linkages with safeguarding conservation interests and forging clear business linkages with local communities through concessions.
Concessioning tools developed for applications in specific regions or countries for use by protected area authorities and the private sector include the following:
Tools for evaluating the financial viability of concessioning programs are particularly important for both the public and private sector. The South African National Treasury’s Public private partnership manual includes a module on managing the tourism PPP agreement , with tools for value assessment and economic valuation. This has been applied to tourism concession processes in the country’s national parks and reserves.
A number of case study examples of concessioning are embedded within the World Bank Group, CBD and UNDP guidelines, while further examples can be found for Latin America , (see box below) Mozambique , and New Zealand . For example, the paper Rethinking tourism and its contribution to conservation in New Zealand reviews the impacts of tourism concessions on the country’s natural capital. It reviews the challenge of saving threatened species, protected area budgets, regulatory options for sustainable tourism, and best practices, with recommendations for improvement.
Box 3 : Case study : Best practices on tourism concessions in protected areas from Latin America : Chile
Chile launched a concession program in Patagonian parks in 2003 and the Atacama region in 2007. Seven parks were opened to concession operations in Patagonia in 2003/2004. Bidders were provided with a list of permitted ecotourism activities, including fishing, skiing, skating, hiking or trekking, photographic safaris, cycling, caving, scuba diving, canoeing, canyoning, and river kayaking, hotels and lodges of all classes, and restaurants including small kiosks. The criteria for judging the suitability of the proposals were as follows:
Several of the concessioning tools address options to maximize the level of local benefits from tourism concessions. In southern Africa in particular, joint-venture agreements between private operators and community entities have been used as a tool to provide equity in tourism businesses to local people (see Box 4). Getting financed: 9 tips for community joint ventures in tourism aims to help community-based tourism enterprises move away from donor and grant-funded resources towards more commercially options. The guide provides suggestions to reduce risks and improve joint-ventures accessing commercial finance.
Box 4 : Case studies on joint ventures and partnerships in conservation areas
Private Sector Tourism in Conservation Areas in Africa includes a series of case studies including on Anvil Bay and Ndzou camp in Mozambique, Damaraland Camp and Doro Nawas Camp in Namibia, Witsieshoek Mountain Lodge and !Xaus Lodge in South Africa
Joint ventures between communities and tourism investors: experience in southern Africa reviews experience from eight joint-venture processes in Namibia, within the wider regional context, to identify some key principles and challenges (such as their high transaction costs).
Damaraland Camp in Namibia is a joint-venture partnership between the Torra Conservancy and the safari company Wilderness Safaris. The camp is the subject of a case study that explores the venture from an inclusive business approach: Creating luxury ecotourism with the local community .
Phinda Private Game reserve represents a transitional partnership model in which the private-sector partner continues to operate, manage and market the reserve and its lodges, although a portion of the land and asset ownership has been transferred to the community. The arrangements are described in the paper Strong community partnership through long term leasing.
A tourism destination is a geographical area consisting of all the services and infrastructure necessary for the stay of a tourist or for a tourism segment, 25 such as NBT. The ability of a destination to manage tourism depends on the implementation of effective management strategies, the scale of demand for visits to the site, the staff and resources available for management of tourism, and the legal and political environment covering nature protection in the countries in which they are located 26 . An example of a destination approach in Mozambique under a series of World Bank projects is described in Box 5 .
This case study provides an overview of process of sequential World Bank projects on conservation and tourism that have taken place over 15 years in 18 protected areas in Mozambique. The case study includes a description of the context, pillars of activities, impacts and lessons learned.
Tourism destination management: Achieving sustainable and competitive results is a resource that helps destinations put in place strategies and programs that will best tell their unique story and become an inviting host for visitors no matter the purpose of their journey. The tool includes guidance on creating tourism inventories, creating clusters, development destination management organizations, visitor information and online presence. The guide provides a series of NBT destinations as examples, in addition to other types of destination. Destinations at risk: The invisible burden of tourism describes how destinations need to identify and account for tourism’s hidden costs. It identifies the types of destinations that are most vulnerable (see Box 6 ). Although not specific to NBT, it provides guidance on how to protect our ecosystems from the environmental impacts of tourism.
Box 6 : Typology of vulnerable destinations
Destination management resources that relate to types of destination, and to specific include:
Infrastructure to support NBT can be used to provide accommodation (e.g. lodges, campsites, cabins), support access (e.g. roads, hiking trails, boardwalks, bridges, signage), enhance the experience (e.g. cliff and treetop walks, mooring points, viewpoints, visitor centres) and provide support services (e.g. retail and catering facilities). 27
There is a great deal of practical guidance available for planners and investors on sustainable NBT accommodation (or ecolodges). These include:
Guidance is also available to help natural destination to develop supporting visitor infrastructure and facilities. This includes:
Figure 4:Active transportation in US national parks 28
Visitor management is the process of tracking visitor use in a destination. There are a number of tools and techniques for aligning the objectives of NBT destination values (such as protected areas) with planning and management responses to avoid or mitigate negative impacts from tourism. An overview of 10 principles for tourism and visitor management in protected areas and actions are outlined in Table 6 .
Table 6: Ten principles of tourism and visitor management in protected areas 29
1. Appropriate management depends on objectives and protected area values
2. Proactive planning for tourism and visitor management enhances effectiveness
3. Changing visitor use conditions are inevitable and may be desirable
4. Impacts on resource and social conditions are inevitable consequences of human use
5. Management is directed at influencing human behaviour and minimising tourism-induced change
6. Impacts can be influenced by many factors so limiting the amount of use is but one of many management options
7. Monitoring is essential to professional management
8. The decision-making process should separate technical description from value judgements
9. Affected groups should be engaged since consensus and partnership is needed for implementation
10. Communication is key to increased knowledge of and support for sustainability
Visitor management is a chapter in the book Protected Area Governance and Management that provides a comprehensive introduction to visitor management supplemented with case study examples. This resources addresses types of visitors in different types of protected areas (see figure below), management considerations; sustainable tourism; types of tourism operators; numbers and types of tourists; working with the tourism industry; tourism revenue and charges; marketing; and also visitor impact management tools (e.g. Limits of Acceptable Change, Visitor Impact Management, Recreation Opportunity Spectrum, and challenges concept of Carrying Capacity) and responses. Tourism and protected area management : sustaining resources is a collection of technical reports from Australia on visitor management. The papers provide an understanding of changing trends and visitor preference, the role of communication in shaping and enhancing visitor satisfaction, as well as the potential of commercial partnerships in achieving park management goals and satisfying visitor experiences. Also, Determinants of tourism attractiveness in the national parks of Brazil explores the relative importance of park characteristics on visitor numbers.
Figure 5: Indicative visitor uses in protected areas 30
Visitor management tools that can be used by destination managers (including protected area managers) to plan NBT sustainably include:
NBT can provide ample opportunities for education and
interpretation, which can
provide enormous value to help people can learn about nature and cultures, and
attitudes towards conservation.
Interpretation handbook and standard
is a procedural manual designed for New Zealand’s Department of
staff, and also their concessionaires and volunteers.
It provides best practice guidance about communicating clearly,
interpretation, and guided and self-guided techniques.
Wildlife interpretation guidelines
developed in Scotland aim to help
tour guides, countryside rangers, wildlife conservation staff and
examples of good practices.
There are also interpretation guidelines for specific types of
Best practice and interpretation in tourism/wildlife
wild dolphin swim tour example
There are a considerable number of resources available to entrepreneurs and businesses that wish to develop commercial NBT enterprises. These include broad range of tools specifically designed for developers and investors to help establish or strengthen their NBT businesses. These include the following examples:
Figure 6: The conservation marketing equation 31
Guidance developed for different types of tourism include:
Box 7 : Case study on assessing tourism potential : Assessment of nature-based tourism in South Kelantan, Malaysia
Nature-based tourism is an important part of the global tourism industry, and its components and features vary considerably from one destination to another. In Malaysia, location, quality and quantity of natural resources, and their infrastructure have not been well documented in the past. An assessment was made of the potential of natural tourism destinations in South Kelantan, by selecting fifteen destinations such as waterfalls and caves as case studies. Based on geographical information systems (GIS) application, 23 indicators for tourism destination assessment were investigated using observation and checklist techniques. The destinations were further classified based on physical features, infrastructure and accessibility. The results showed that 3 destinations were in the first category, 11 in the second category and only one destination in the third category. The assessment found that GIS application is effective in providing higher quality of information for natural tourism destination, which is an essential tool for decision making process.
Regional and country-specific guidance for NBT product development is also available, including for the following places:
Box 8 : Examples of good practices in nature-based tourism operations
Case studies in ecotourism is a book with 170 examples of ecotourism, ecolodges, private reserve and public parks. The case studies range from the world’s best models to test cases, small and large, unique to representative. The book shows what ecotourism can achieve and what constraints it faces.
Indigenous ecotourism, a book that examines the key principles from a diverse range of case studies drawn different regions of the world. The book and analyses the key factors for sustainable development and the management of indigenous ecotourism.
Private Sector Tourism in Conservation Areas in Africa uses 32 comprehensive case studies of accommodation facilities in 11 African countries to provide guidelines for optimal benefits and sustainable NBT. The book includes descriptions of the various models for the private sector to engage in tourism in conservation areas in Africa, and guidance on identifying the most suitable private sector tourism options to promote the long-term sustainability.
Tourism for development is a compilation of 23 international good practice case studies that highlight tourism’s contribution to sustainable development. Among these are nature-based tourism cases, including Sabyino Community Livelihood Association in Rwanda, El Carlos Ecotourism and Archaeological Centre in Columbia, and Chumbe Island Coral Park in Tanzania.
Tourism product development interventions and best practices in sub-Saharan Africa: Part 2: Case studies describes case studies including the wildlife conservancy program in Namibia, hiking tourism on Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, and safari operators &Beyond and Wilderness Safaris. A synthesis report based on the case studies is also available.
Ecotourism and conservation in the Americas shares 16 case studies and regional overviews from the US and Latin America.
Tourism, local livelihoods and the private sector in South Africa: case studies on the growing role of the private sector in natural resources management examines how changing institutional arrangements and policies affect poor people's livelihoods and access to natural resources. Six different scenarios are analysed to demonstrate how government, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), the private sector and rural communities have influenced rural livelihoods through tourism practices in South Africa, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.
Wilderness Safaris: Ecotourism entrepreneurship is a case study from Harvard Business School that explores whether the African company can find a sustainable growth path that will allow it to profitably expand its business and meet its shareholders’ interests while still achieving its objectives to protect and invest in the ecosystems and communities.
Nature based tourism can have a variety of positive and negative impacts. The types of impacts are broad in their range, and affect natural resources, local economies, culture and society, and also tourists themselves. Sometimes it is difficult to establish the balance between the positive and negative impacts of tourism. This section reviews examples of tools, guidance materials and illustrations of NBT impacts.
All forms of tourism have impacts on the natural environment. The impacts of ecotourism tend to be concentrated in areas of highest conservation value, hence the need to manage and minimize these. The Routledge handbook of tourism and the environment explores and critically evaluates the debates and controversies inherent to tourism’s relationship with nature. Its five sections include the philosophical basis of the ‘environment’; different types of ecosystems and the negative and positive impacts upon them; environmental policy and management mechanisms the changing tourism-environment relationship; and also contemporary and future issues. Environmental impacts of ecotourism is a book that reviews the environmental impacts and management of particular NBT activities, such as hiking and camping, off-road vehicles, and recreational boats, and impacts specific to certain ecosystems (e.g. marine environments, polar coasts, mountain environments.) Conservation tourism is a book that focuses on case studies from tourism companies that have made positive contributions to the conservation of global biodiversity. These case studies range from private marine reserves to bird watching lodges in different regions across the world. Tourism, recreation and sustainability presents a discussion from leading contributors on the impacts of tourism on local culture and the environment. These are presented in sections on frameworks and approaches, tourism and destinations, and culture. Tourism development and the environment: Beyond sustainability? explores the tourism–development– environment nexus, by recognizing tourism as a valuable and powerful sector of the global economy and for destinations, that can catalyse development. Nature-based tourism, environment and land management looks at the economic, social and environmental consequences of nature-based tourism, and its effects on land managers. It discusses the importance of links and partnerships, as well as the conflicts, between commercial tourism interests and land management agencies.
As guidance for NBT businesses, Green your business: Toolkit for tourism operators is a Canadian handbook that provides user-friendly, accessible and practical tips for operators in protected areas in becoming more environmentally sustainable. It provides tools for different business processes (e.g. product development, marketing, purchasing etc.) and by need (e.g. energy, waste, water, outdoor environment, carbon neutral, socio-cultural).
Nature-based tourism can generate important positive impacts on natural habitats and wildlife, but if not properly managed, it can damage the natural resources on which it is based. Not only can it undermine the quality and integrity of biodiversity, but it can also lead to a deterioration of the visitor experience itself. There are a number of background papers that describe and illustrate the key issues between tourism and biodiversity. These include the following:
Resources that can help to enhance the positive impacts of NBT on nature include the following:
There has been increasing interest in animal welfare issues in tourism and, particularly in relation to the treatment of wildlife interactions. Concerns relate mainly to situations where wildlife is where are in captivity, petted, fed or visitors can swim with marine wildlife or ride elephants. There are concerns that social media, and the desire for travellers to have pictures of themselves petting animals, is fueling captive animal interactions that live in poor conditions. 32 Also, research suggests that travellers are not good at establishing whether animals are being well treated or not. 33 The book Tourism and animal welfare explores the diversity of tourism experiences with animals (including shark and elephant tourism, sport hunting, zoos and aquariums), and ethics, animal rights, and human obligations to animals. The Global welfare guidelines for animals in tourism , with six associated manuals including on animals in captive environments (e.g. dolphins and elephants), wildlife viewing and working animals. Aimed to support travel businesses and suppliers of animal experiences, they aim to encourage good practice in animal protection and welfare. These are freely available to Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) members, while non-members and partners can purchase them. TripAdvisor has an online portal on Improving animal welfare in tourism which provides articles on animal rights, and tourism, conservation and sustainability. To guide the tourism sector to purchasing decisions that support wildlife, the US Wildlife Trafficking Alliance has published Protecting wildlife by buying informed: A corporate toolkit . The guide helps companies to play a role by closing off supply chains, helping educate the public, and raising awareness of the need to shut down the markets for illegal wildlife products. The book Wild animals and leisure is a collection of papers that provides an in-depth analysis of the rights and welfare of humans and wild animals a forum for future considerations of wild animals and leisure. It provides a voice for animal welfare agendas that seek to improve the conditions under which wild animals interact with and are engaged with by humans.
There are a series of guidelines developed for tourism for specific types of wildlife or habitats. These include:
Box 9 : Visitor engagement in species identification & research
iNaturalist is a nature app that helps people to identify plants and animals, that aims to help people connect to nature. It is a crowdsourced species identification system and occurrence recording tool. People can use it to record their own sightings, get help to identify species, and collaborate with others to collect information.
Nature-based tourism can generate a range of economic and financial impacts. At the national level, protected area tourism revenue can contribute to foreign exchange earnings and the balance of payments, and these can be used to justify expenditures on conservation, or can provide revenue directly to protected area authorities for conservation. The financial benefits generated from tourism services can also incentivize local people to care for nature, and encourage the private sector to conserve biodiversity. 34 These benefits may include ownership and equity in businesses, benefit sharing from tourism revues, money earned from jobs or the sale of products and services to tourists or operators, or corporate social responsibility initiatives.
There are resources that quantify and illustrate the range of economic and financial impacts from NBT. These include the following:
Box 10 : Key findings from Towards measuring the economic value of wildlife watching tourism in Africa
The World Bank’s Biodiversity, nature-based tourism and jobs is a review of literature on NBT the magnitude and range of economic benefits for conservation and local community incomes. Similarly, Towards measuring the economic value of wildlife watching tourism in Africa looks at the wildlife watching market segment within the tourism sector in Africa. Based on a survey with government institution and tour operators, the briefing paper considers a range of economic benefits, including employment and contributions to nature conservation. The next two sections describe further examples of resources on the contributions of NBT to conservation finance, and also the financial benefits to local communities and economies.
Revenue raised from tourism can directly contribute to management of natural resources and protected areas. Entrance fees and other fees paid for the use of natural and protected areas can be used to finance conservation. However, in some areas funds generated from tourism go to central government treasuries, and conservation budgets do not necessarily relate to the level of this income. 35 For example, Estimating tourism’s conservation area financing in Mozambique demonstrated that 93 protected areas in the country contributed generated USD 24.4 m in 2013 from tourism-related activities, which contributed around 10% of the tourism’s total contribution to the national economy.
Resources that provide information on the financial benefits that NBT can have for financing conservation include:
Box 11 : Studies on tourist’s willingness to pay for nature-based tourism
A number of papers explore visitor’s willingness to pay (WTP) for NBT, and to visit natural attractions. These research studies ask respondents are asked to specify how much they are willing to pay to visit an area under different conditions. Often the WTP studies have found travellers are (1) willing to pay to visit PAs and (2) are willing to pay more than the established fee. For example:
Local people can benefit from economic linkages with NBT. This may include through employment, by selling products and services that tourism companies and tourists need, or by owning tourism businesses.
Examples of destinations and protected area authorities that share information on their economic impacts include:
Box 12 : Visitor spending effects from national parks in the USA in 2018
U.S. National Park Service's (NPS) uses the Money Generation Model (MGM) 2 to calculate the economic impact of visitation. In 2018:
In developing countries and rural areas, local people may not have adequate skills, knowledge or capital to open and operate such ventures. Therefore it is important to pay attention to the design of benefit-sharing mechanisms so that local communities can benefit but also so that economic benefits are maximized. There is a large body of case studies that illustrate the nature of local economic impacts from NBT, particularly in Africa. These include the following publications:
Figure 7: Cost components of safari and mountain climbing packages in Tanzania 36
|A typical mountain-climbing holiday (USD1,376 in-country spend)||A typical safari holiday (USD1,826 in-country spend)|
Tools that are in development to support the assessment of financial and economic impacts of tourism in protected areas include:
Box 13 provides some examples of the value of birding tourism in different countries, and option to maximize value.
Box 13 : The value of birding tourism in different countries and maximising tourism potential
The figure below shows a range of options to maximise value from birding tourism
Social and cultural impacts of tourism can include changes to the living standards and in the value and pride that people have for natural assets. Tourism can encourage the conservation of culture, crafts and arts, and promote aesthetic, spiritual, health and other values of well-being. Environmental education for visitors and local people can be used to foster better understanding of the cultural heritage value of natural resources. 37 Background papers on social and cultural impacts of tourism include :
Tools developed for leaders in tourism destinations to maximize benefits to local communities from NBT include:
Risk management is the forecasting and analysis of potential financial and non-financial risks, and identifying procedures to mitigate or eliminate their impact. Risks can arise at the local, national, or international levels and be either internal or external to a NBT initiative. 40
Nature-based tourism in Peripheral areas: Development or disaster? examines problems of NBT development in peripheral areas, including sub-polar areas, alpine areas and forests, mountains, islands and coastal environments. The book considers the opportunities that nature-based tourism provide as the basis for peripheral region development. Similarly, Ecotourism’s promise and peril: A biological evaluation , considers the impacts that visitation can have on wildlife – including behavioral, physiological, ecological, and evolutionary impacts. The book also synthesizes the current state of knowledge regarding best practices for reducing human impacts on wildlife. Also Tourism in changing natural environments explores how the impacts of climate change, natural and man-made disasters, economic instability, and other macro-environmental factors can have profound implications for local and global economies, fragile ecosystems, and human cultures and livelihoods. From Africa, Wildlife-based Tourism and Climate: Potential Opportunities and Challenges for Botswana highlights the decline of wildlife due to human activities in southern Africa. It describes how fragmentation of wildlife habitats combined with increased climate variability due to climate change, poses a risk to the sustainability of a wildlife-based tourism product in Botswana. The publication calls for the need to consider adaptation measures in this sector, and to seek for other alternative tourism attractions and/or products.
Figure 8 : Tourism related-threats in protected areas
Effective monitoring and evaluation (M&E) of NBT allows managers of NBT destinations and enterprises to measure progress against selected variables to detect areas of success and failure. This information can be used to adapt management approaches to improve the level of performance overall.
The journal paper provides a case study and developing and applying an evaluation framework to NBT activities at a destination level. The framework evaluates operations based on attractions, access, supporting infrastructure and level of environmental degradation. Finally, it highlights some of the difficulties associated with establishing objective resource evaluation techniques for nature-based tourism.
There are many useful tools available to help design and implement M&E for NBT. The DestiMED project has compiled a Report on available monitoring tools , as a global review of current and past tourism monitoring and certification programs for tourism in protected areas. Some of the tools include:
Box 15 : Citizen science for monitoring of NBT
Protected area managers can use citizen science to develop effective interventions
for resource management issues. Citizen science is a form of protected area-based
volunteerism that supports research
efforts. Citizen scientists are sometimes tourists who have travelled to
a protected area specifically for this purpose, and can also be local outdoor recreationists who enjoy leisure opportunities in protected areas while at the same time
contributing their energy and skills to science. For example, in Australia, the Victoria Marine National Park and Sanctuary started the Sea Search citizen science project to gather information about the health of the network of Victoria’s marine parks and sanctuaries. Similarly, the University of York in the UK used volunteers to document sightings of over 250 species of invertebrates.
For tourism in protected areas, the following specific monitoring tools are available:
Figure 9: Global database protected areas visitors (GD-PAVIS) 42
The general aim of certification is to foster responsible environmental, social and cultural behaviour and provide a quality product to consumers. Certification provides a mechanism through which enterprises can be recognised voluntary standards of performance that meet or exceed baseline standards or legislation, following independent third party verification. 43
A simple user’s guide to certification for sustainable tourism and ecotourism is designed for those who have heard about certifying sustainable tourism and ecotourism and want to understand how it works or how to begin the process. Quality assurance and certification in ecotourism is a book that considers the topic of quality control and accreditation in ecotourism, with a broad range of examples and case studies. The book describes the mechanisms that can be implemented to ensure quality in all aspects of the industry, namely protected areas, businesses, products and tour guides. Similarly, Ecotourism and certification: Setting standards in practice explores the concepts underlying certification and highlights case studies of certification schemes around the world. The book Quality assurance and certification in tourism 44 is designed to provide a thorough review and application of certification and quality assurance schemes with perspectives on their application from the community, tour guide, protected area managers and tourism industry perspectives. The book includes examples of NBT and ecotourism certification programs, and their application in natural destinations. Tourism in protected areas: Developing meaningful standards is a paper that partnerships between conservation and tourism and how these partnerships could unfold through the work of the IUCN Green List and the work of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council .
This study identifies and evaluates nature-based sustainable tourism-related certification schemes available in, or appropriate for Albania. The study evaluated tourist demand and tourist satisfaction in Vlora Bay, the level of information available on Karaburun-Sazan MPA and approaches to nature based initiatives. It provides lessons learned for other MPA evaluations and copies of applied questionnaires.
There are hundreds of standards and certification programs globally, but there are particularly reputable examples for NBT. The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) has recognised and accredited certification programs for NBT, including those aligned with the:
Also, the Wildlife Friendly Enterprise Network ’s standards for gorilla friendly and sea turtle friendly tourism. Their gorilla friendly standard is currently being used by the International Gorilla Conservation Program to establish new training materials for guides, trackers and porters in Rwanda.
Box 17 : Use of certification to ensure best practice NBT in protected areas in Australia
The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park has implemented a High Standard Tour Operator program for a number of years, so that the majority of visitors to the reef are led by certified operators. The park rewards and encourage tour operators to become certified by Earthcheck and Ecotourism Australia through longer licenses, exclusive access to sensitive sites, and promotional opportunities. Theses no-cost approaches demonstrate to operators that being sustainable, and independently certified as so, makes business sense.
Some NBT companies that promote sustainable practices share their annual reports, demonstrating their impacts on conservation and local economies. These include the following: