How Can Tourism Create a Win-Win Solution for Conservation and Communities?

How Can Tourism Create a Win-Win Solution for Conservation and Communities?

Our current issue article series this week focuses on tourism’s contribution to biodiversity conservation. How does tourism benefit conservation? How can tourism ensure the involvement of local communities in conservation efforts? How does your organization work with communities and guests to support and promote conservation? Head over to TIES-EXCHANGE to add your comments and ideas related to this topic! (Member log-in required)


Conservation Win-Win Conservation Win-Win


Through many successful examples around the world, ecotourism has been proven as an effective market-based solution for conservation challenges. In many of these examples, ecotourism, by providing economic incentive for protecting natural and cultural diversity, has made conservation efforts possible, as well as providing revenues to continue supporting the conservation efforts.


Ecotourism Businesses with Hands-On Approaches to Conservation

Here are just a handful of examples from TIES global network; these businesses have supported and participated in conservation efforts proactively, as well as collaborating with other partners including travelers, local communities and destinations.


Tour Operators

  • Wildland Adventure undertakes various conservation projects with leading environmental organizations, and encourages travelers, through the Travelers Conservation Trust, to support local conservation and community projects.
  • Volcanoes Safaris, a tour operator in Rwanda and Uganda, works towards the conservation of natural habitats as well as conservation of the gorillas in the areas they work in.
  • Peregrine Adventures is committed to using tourism to help preserve local cultures, protect the local environment, foster local community involvement, and to make conservation good business for local authorities.


  • Chumbe Island Coral Park (Zanzibar, Tanzania) is a non-profit lodging company founded to manage the marine and forest reserve conservation and environmental education in the conservation areas of the island.
  • Cristalino Jungle Lodge (Mato Grosso, Brazil) and the Cristalino Ecological Foundation help conserve the 24,000 acres of primary rainforest and support education and research projects.
  • Tahi (North Island, New Zealand) is dedicated to conservation and the restoration of ecosystems. The lodge plants trees, reintroduces wetlands which in turn brings back native birds.


Encouraging Effective Conservation Policy

With tourism being a top foreign exchange earner in many developing countries, destinations around the world have embraced the need to preserve the facets of their countries that attract tourists such as pristine nature and rich bio-cultural diversity. For this reason, tourism can effectively provide the incentive for promoting strategic partnerships for tourism and conservation, implementing progressive conservation policies, and encouraging community involvement in sustainable tourism and community development efforts.


In Southern Africa, for example, three countries that have one natural area with annual wildlife migration patterns in common – Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe - came together to establish the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park, to be jointly protected as a conservation area.


In Europe, the "European Green Belt Initiative" includes Kosovo, Albania, and Macedonia as well as the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN) and IUCN. They all work together to protect the ecological conditions, especially for the carnivores of the region, and to ensure cooperative management and development in the area.


Empowering Community Members as Stewards

Ecotourism can be used to equip local community members with the necessary means to manage natural resources in a more sustainable way, and much-needed tangible incentives to actively protect wildlife instead of poaching wildlife.


In Laos, the Wildlife Conservation Society Lao Programme has used wildlife-based ecotourism to ensure that tourism will directly benefit conservation, most notably the protection of the tigers in Nam Et-Phou Louey Protected Area. The model is comprised of an 'ecosystem service agreement' between 14 villages, as well as the protected area management unit which gives benefits derived from tourism fees to the villages.


In Namibia, the government has utilized the Integrated Rural Development and Nature Conservation approach to protect wildlife by enlisting those most skilled at tracking animals and paying them to protect, instead of hunting, wildlife. The government has also implemented community conservancies to promote local stewardship, engaging the locals own, manage and profit from natural resource-based businesses, including wildlife tourism.


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About TIES

As the world's oldest and largest international ecotourism association, TIES seeks to be the global source of knowledge and advocacy uniting communities, conservation, sustainable travel..




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The Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism Conference will highlight global challenges and local opportunities, supporting sustainable development of tourism and promoting solutions that balance conservation, communities and sustainable travel.

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