1 Tahrcountry Musings: Eco-tourism tips from IUCN

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Eco-tourism tips from IUCN

Ecotourism could prove to be a double edged sword if it is not handled judiciously. Several World Heritage sites have suffered from the negative impacts of tourism. A classic case is the Belize Barrier Reef System where uncontrolled lease and development of land for tourism within the site has led to it being included on the List of World Heritage in Danger in 2009.
IUCN has come out with ten tips for eco-tourists who want to visit some of the most beautiful natural sites in the world without damaging the environment. The tips accompany a recent report by IUCN, Sustainable tourism in natural World Heritage.
Here are the tips
1.  Visit destinations which have conservation value, such as protected areas, World Heritage sites or areas where nature and culture is a key attraction. Include in your trip visits and activities related to conservation projects. Visitwww.protectedplanet.net
Or take this a step further and plan a “doing” holiday! Many organizations plan expeditions where you can spend time working on a local conservation project.
2.  Travel light: limit the packaging you bring with you. This will become waste in your holiday destination.
3.  Before you travel, learn as much as possible about your destination, about the natural assets, the local people and their culture and any environmental concerns (for example if there is a drought, if forest fires are a major threat ..). This should help to make your journey more enjoyable!
4.  Use reputable local tour operators, preferably those who contribute to conservation themselves. Aim to follow any local codes, for example regarding behaviour or dress if visiting cultural or sacred natural sites.
5.  Pick nature-friendly accommodation: ask hotels if they are truly eco, for example do they have an environmental policy? Have they implemented energy and water saving measures? Do they contribute to local conservation efforts and support local communities?
6. If you can, try to get to your destination by train or coach – you’ll see more of the country you’re travelling in as well as reducing your carbon emissions. Consider also offsetting your travel using a Gold Standard supplier (http://www.cdmgoldstandard.org/GS-Portfolio-Pledgers.287.0.html)
7.  When you’re on holiday, choose wisely what you put on your plate. Choose locally sourced produce that’s in season and be aware that certain Endangered species may be on the menu without your knowledge - ask local conservation organizations for a list of what to look out for.
8.  Many wild plants and animals are in great danger … you can contribute to protecting them by avoiding buying souvenirs made from Endangered species (jewellery made from red coral and turtle carapace,shatoosh and many others). Be careful if you’re bringing plants or seeds back from your travels – check that they couldn’t become invasive species.
9.  Wildlife watching can be an incredible experience… but don't disturb wildlife, for your own safety and theirs!
10.  Maintain a relationship with your new friends in the destination, become a member of local conservation organizations.

1 comment:

Symphony in Green said...

I like tip #10 the most! Connecting to the local community can increase our awareness of local culture and their needs to help us know how we can help. You also gain friends in the process!

Thanks for the post!