Nature-based tourism needs to be increased

Published on : Monday, November 8, 2021

The main elements of biodiversity loss – land use change, pollution, climate change, over-exploitation, and the invasion of non-native species – are widespreadin the tourism industry. These are issues that don’t only affect wildlife trips, but every holiday we book –right from city breaks to beach holidays.

Luxury resorts now make their presence along stretches of coastline once covered in mangroves; the ancient temples at Angkor Wat are susceptibleof collapsing from the unsustainable removal of underlying ground water used to support millions of tourists visiting each year, and in Amsterdam, a 2021 report showed that pollution from docked cruise ships was equal to 31,000 extra trucks driving a segment of the city each day.

There are less recognizable impacts too. In the UK, non-native species (For example,quagga mussel, Japanese knotweed and red swamp crayfish) cost the UK economy £2 billion every year. Incidents of non-native species are far higher in high-tourism areas, where they arrive via travelers’ shoes, hulls of fishing boats or in the ballast water of ships.

Re-wilding is an area where responsible tourism has a pivotalpart to play. Responsible nature-based tourism provides the necessary commercial benefits, jobs and economic incentives for local communities that can encourage land-owners to keep aside land for wildlife. If nature-based tourism can be increased, we can increase the amount of land we save – if we need toachieve our global target of protecting and preserving 30% of land and ocean by 2030.

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