This review demonstrates that there are literally hundreds of information resources and institutions that can support governments, practitioners, the private sector and communities to establish sustainable NBT. Some resources that are still in development (e.g. the World Bank’s tourism concession manual, and UNESCO’s online Visitor Management Assessment Toolkit) will also contribute to this body of knowledge and tools further in the future.


One of the consultees notably remarked that, “ 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 .” This point is reinforced by numerous requests from other consultees for resources that already exist. Given the extensive and diverse resources identified in this report, it may be challenging for managers to review and digest all of them, in order to decide which is most appropriate to use under particular circumstances. To illustrate, it is notable that of 67 World Bank staff individually invited to participate in the consultative process (including all members of the NBT CoP), only 3 contributed. It is presumed that the lack of engagement is an indication of their extensive commitments (as one remarked), and it reinforces the need to provide them with targeted and easily accessible support. So while this extensive synthesis report provides descriptions of each of the resources identified, and could be used in combination with the resource database (see Annex 1), a more responsive approach would be useful to provide practical support to time-constrained World Bank staff.


Based on this, it is recommended that the World Bank to establish a technical focal point or unit on NBT, that can provide targeted support technical guidance, and guide project managers towards the most appropriate resources or approaches. To support the NBT CoP and staff across the World Bank Group, the focal point could:

  • Organize and facilitate webinars and trainings on specific topics on a regular basis, in conjunction with short briefing papers. Initially the briefing papers could be based on sub-sections of this report, by dividing it into short issue-based papers, supported by case studies, and thereafter on specific needs of World Bank practice areas.
  • Provide technical advice to support 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.
  • Liaise with international networks and external expertise to ensure that guidance was cutting edge and in line with best practice.
  • Develop a vetted global roster of experts that can provide high quality technical support in NBT. This approach may also help with the consistency and quality of support by the World Bank to its clients globally, over the full course of the project cycle.

Gaps and Resource Priorities

An extensive list of outstanding g aps in resources were identified from this review, and from the consultation process (see Table 7 below). However, in order to prioritise efforts it is recommended that the World Bank focus on building tools and resources that are (a) strategic and game-changing, and (b) directly correspond with the needs that World Bank staff and clients have. Therefore based on the review coupled the consultant’s experience, the top four priorities for intervention would be:


1. Overtourism and undertourism: Many protected area managers are grappling with the task of offering tourism to their constituencies, while ensuring that the conservation objectives are prioritised. While some are trying to establish tourism in new or emerging destinations, others need to adapt to rapid growth in visitation, and the environmental and social pressures that this induces. While a series of visitor management planning approaches are available (see section 4.6 ), there is a lack of agreement among practitioners over the most appropriate approaches to use (e.g. Limits of Acceptable Change vs Carrying Capacity). There is an urgent need from many natural destination managers to identify practical tools and approaches that provide solutions to overtourism (sometimes driven by social media) (see section 4.2 ). Specifically, these tools need to be designed so that they can be applied reliably and quickly, and in line with best practices. There is an opportunity for the World Bank to establish an approach to address this challenge, which could convene experts working in this field to build and field-test the tools. Ideally this would be undertaken in conjunction with destination managers (e.g. protected area authorities), technical experts, major Online Travel Agencies and also social media platforms. These activities would be integrated into the World Bank’s design and supervision of projects incorporating NBT globally (see section 3.1 ). The development of these resources could be completed through an iterative process within 6 months, while field testing and evaluation may take an additional 6 to 12 months.


2. Tourism concessions and investment: The IFC Anchor Investment Generation Manual needs to be made accessible online, to both World Bank Group staff and their clients. While this already includes a number of templates to support procurement processes that can be used to outsource tourism products and services (e.g. for expressions of interest and requests for proposals; terms of references for technical experts; contracts etc.) additional tools would also be useful. It would be useful to include a finalised version of the IFC Tourism Concession Toolkit (effectively part 2 of An introduction to tourism concessioning: 14 Characteristics of successful programs ), and also a financial modelling tool already applied to concessions programs in South Africa and Rwanda 47 . Production and publication of these resources should be coupled with training sessions for both World Bank staff and consultants, to establish improved technical capacity, with consistent application of investment generation approaches and tools. Over time, further case studies and tools could be added to the Anchor Investment Generation Manual to build a comprehensive resource library (see section 4.3 ). These initiatives would support the World Bank’s Trade and Competitiveness Global Practice and would be relatively quick and easy to establish (i.e. within 6 months).


3. Climate change and NBT: Technical resources and guidance on climate change mitigation and adaptation for the tourism sector are not specific to NBT (and therefore, which have not been included in this analysis). Many of these tools and resources for this topic relate to making all tourism more sustainable, particularly interims of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. For NBT destinations, the issues are particularly important given the implications for global climate change for habitats, wildlife, and traveller’s behaviour. However, there is a need for practical tools that allow natural destination managers, NBT operators, and travellers, to understand, avoid and mitigate climate change impacts. In particular, advice on how NBT practitioners can integrate mitigation and adaptation approaches into project design and implementation process (e.g. integrated carbon offsetting tools; climate-proofing NBT investment approaches; green-building practices and low-carbon travel strategies). This would be compatible with the World Bank’s work on climate finance and disaster risk management. A consultative process and tool development could be undertaken within 6 to 12 months.


4. Hunting: Although contentious, there is a need to address challenges with sport and trophy-hunting tourism (see section 4.1.1 ). There is a need to establish global standards for sustainable hunting, coupled with evidence of its impacts on conservation and livelihoods. Both the public and private sector would apply these standards. Furthermore, information is needed for the public and media to clarify the differences between illegal poaching of wildlife and legal hunting, and to present evidence to support decision makers. Addressing hunting and poaching is would be compatible with the World Bank’s work on illegal wildlife trade (including its role in the International Consortium on Combatting Wildlife Crime) and the Global Wildlife Program’s work on human wildlife conflict. A consultative process and tool development could probably be undertaken within 6 to 12 months.


Table 7: List of outstanding gaps in resources

Category Gap
Best practices and toolkits
  • Development of a vetted roster of NBT experts to help the WBG and their clients identify good tourism development experts and consulting companies. The roster should be coupled with training for those experts in WBG approaches to ensure consistency in NBT design, implementation and monitoring.
  • Consolidation of industry-wide, globally endorsed wildlife viewing guidelines to reduce confusion over the large number available.
  • Case studies of small and easily implemented initiatives that can have quick and meaningful benefits, rather than extensive costly interventions.
  • Translation of existing toolkits into Arabic, Chinese, French, Portuguese, and Spanish.
Enabling policy and planning environment
  • Tools to help destination managers balance conservation management approaches with technologies and social media which are driving changes in visitation with increasing speed and complexity.
  • Examples of policies, laws and regulations that can be used by protected areas to benefit financially from tourism, with associated case studies. These can be particularly useful if there are legal limitations on public entities to receiving funds. Examples of legal frameworks on the processes and requirements for sustainable NBT should also be included.
  • Policy-design tools that outline the diversity of forms of NBT, and help prioritize forms that are truly conservation-oriented.
  • Guidance linking NBT to broader issues of environmental security, peace building and creating resilience to climate change.
  • Models for effective inter-organizational collaboration among/between park/protected-area agencies and national/state/local tourism offices and destination organizations. These would include guidance on institutional framework and coordination to reduce fragmentation of efforts and conflicting approaches, including contestation of authority.
Concessioning and institutional frameworks
  • Template agreements between community and private sector available online (i.e. operating agreement, management agreement, shareholding agreement.)
  • Minimum policy and NBT product design requirements for non-state land to capture revenues from NBT, including for private and community-owned land.
Destination management
  • Support for protected area managers that lack resources to produce up-to-date tourism management plans, or the financial and human resources to implement them.
Infrastructure and facilities
  • Tools that help to identify and address the “maintenance gap” where there is a lack of investment, to support authorities unable to keep up with depreciating assets and the associated risks to sites and visitors
Visitor management
  • Awareness raising materials for tourists, tour operators, and tourism promoters (e.g. online booking platforms) to have a better understanding of which forms of NBT actually support conservation.
  • Case study evidence that experiences gained from NBT can change attitudes and behaviours (e.g. single-use plastic, forest clearing, climate change etc.)
  • Tools that help destinations and enterprises reach NBT markets without compromising them thorough overtourism and negative impacts.
  • Tools that address can be used to reduce conflict between tourists and local residents.
Impacts of nature-based tourism
  • Simple tools for calculating carbon dioxide emissions of NBT activities, to communicate it to tourists and visitors, to reduce and offset their impacts.
  • Information on the environmental management of NBT (e.g. energy and water use, waste management), as opposed to tourism in general.
  • Examples of incentives and funding tools for rural communities to meaningfully engage in NBT (e.g. tax incentives).
  • Economic valuation tools for determining financial cost to NBT due to environmental degradation (e.g. marine plastic pollution, climate change, illegal hunting)


Risk management
  • Tools that identify NBT’s vulnerabilities of natural hazard risks (i.e. flood, drought, etc.).
  • A unified risk management system to improve the legal security of NBT, including negotiation with insurance companies, public administration and financing systems.
Monitoring and evaluation
  • Global standards for sustainable hunting.
  • Implementation of tourism impact monitoring and mitigation plans to avoid overtourism.
  • Open-source monitoring tools for public programs and protected areas that can be used to track impacts, and that incorporate the GSTC criteria .
  • Resources to cover the costs of monitoring and evaluation “ donors would rather fund a classroom than fund the evaluation of the impact of the last classroom.”
  • Datasets or analyses that link environmental conditions to tourism outcomes.
Training & awareness raising materials
  • Information for the public on the differences between illegal poaching of wildlife and legal hunting.
  • Training for protected area agencies and tourism promotion agencies on NBT planning, particularly on cloud-based spatial planning, prioritization and management tools.
  • Training on sustainable tourism for NBT guides and operators, including on maximizing the positive environmental and socio-economic benefits.
  • e-learning tools for training and professional developing for tourism, and practical applications for use in remote rural areas (e.g. linked to systems like Lobster Ink ).
Networks and institutions
  • Networks in North African and Arab countries on NBT.

Providing a 'Home' for Resources

This analysis has highlighted the challenge in the dissemination and awareness raising of materials that are already in the public domain. While the 112 consultees that contributed to the process were highly knowledgeable practitioners from the NBT field, it is clear that there are some areas where multiple tools have been established (e.g. NBT product development), and others that are lacking (e.g. NBT and environmental management systems). Certainly, this report and the database should be shared and accessible. This is particularly important to avoid the inefficiencies of repeating processes to develop similar materials in the future, rather than concentrating efforts on the gaps.


Therefore there is a need to establish information-sharing systems that facilitate better integration and exchange of information, data and knowledge to inform policy/decision-making . Overtime, the weblinks described in this report will be modified, and then links will cease to function. Consultees stressed the need to ensure the ease of access to materials in the future, by providing an e-book version and making the report and its resources available through existing platforms and databases. These platforms need to be sustained in the long term, and have an owner that can maintain and supplement the materials over time.


Platforms and directories provided by institutions such as the World Bank , OnePlanet or IUCN could be used, or else more general platforms such as ResearchGate and libraries provide document hosting functions. The ‘one-stop’ platform needs to be comprehensive, easy to search, so that people can easily find and access materials, at little or no cost. Existing directories and resources established by different institution could be linked to this through links and partnerships (see section 6 ).