Tag: conservation travel

Conservation in national parks

The allure of travel is undeniable; trying new foods, sightseeing, and experiencing new cultures are all unique, irreplaceable experiences for newer travelers and experienced adventurers alike. Now more than ever, everyone wants to travel, but high tourist volumes are having a disruptive effect on wildlife and the environment. Economics, climate change, and overtourism are quickly coming to a head, making the darker aspects of travel steadily more obvious. With the continued endangerment of global ecosystems and tourism making a huge bounce back in 2023, it becomes increasingly important for travelers to consider how their journeys can help the planet. Tourism has a reputation for being a leading factor in the destruction of habitats. However, a world can exist where travel actually has a net positive impact on global conservation efforts. 

What is Conservation Travel?

Conservation travel utilizes travel as a way for people to support and get involved in conservation work during their trip. This has become an increasingly popular idea among tourist destinations that seek to develop more sustainable tourism models. For example, Solimar International has developed strategies such as Regenerative Tourism and Tourism & Conservation Planning in order to help destinations use tourism as a tool for conservation work. By understanding our role in conservation efforts when we travel, we make a difference in the planet’s ability to support future generations. Tourism, though often seen as one of the many ways humans are hurting the planet, can be immensely beneficial to conservation if done responsibly. 

Here we introduce some of the many ways your journey can support conservation.

1. Supporting the Conservation of Our Land and Oceans

National Parks

Travelers are an important aspect of conservation in national parks because their presence promotes education, conservation funding, and economic growth. For instance, tourism at national parks creates job opportunities, such as park rangers and tour guides. In addition, tourism encourages the development of businesses surrounding the parks. Entrance fees and park activities contribute to revenue, incentivizing government bodies to invest in the development and maintenance of the parks. National parks are extremely popular and work to preserve natural ecosystems, making the simultaneous support of local economic growth and conservation efforts possible.

Blue Parks

As of July 2023, the World Database of Protected Areas (WDPA) reported that a mere 8% of the world’s oceans are currently protected. In order for marine conservation work to thrive, accredited marine reserves need the support of travelers just as much as their land counterparts do. To contribute to the conservation of marine life, environmentally 

Conservation Travel at a Protected Blue Park
Anacapa Island, a part of the protected Channel Islands off the Coast of California. Photo by Priya Karkare on Unsplash

conscious travelers can visit accredited marine reserves like Blue Parks. The Blue Parks initiative, backed by marine scientists, aims to protect at least 30% of the world’s oceans by 2030 and create a clear standard for protected marine areas. Tourism is crucial in generating revenue for protected marine reserves and incentivizes leaders to invest in protecting our oceans. 

Examples of Current Blue Parks:

2. Benefitting Conservation Through Citizen Science

Travelers today are fortunate to live in an era where most people exploring the world are connected through the internet, opening up exciting possibilities for conservation travel through citizen science. According to a survey done by BankMyCell in 2019, 92.5% of travelers bring a smartphone with them during their trip. This means that the majority of travelers have the resources to contribute to data collection. For example, documenting sightings of unfamiliar plants and uploading these findings provides valuable information to scientists. By doing so, we help them better understand the distribution and behavior of various species. 

Travelers can utilize mobile apps to engage in citizen science projects all over the world: 

Beach clean ups
Picking up trash on our beaches fosters community and support of marine life.
Photo by Emi Chongsiriwatana

1. Clean Swell

Clean Swell is an app allowing anyone participating in beach clean-ups to contribute information to the Ocean Conservancy’s global ocean trash database. Millions of tons of trash continually pollute the ocean each year, posing a significant threat to marine wildlife. Participating in beach clean-ups and recording the debris collected from waterways, beaches, and lakes provides essential data that aids researchers and policymakers in understanding the sources and impact of marine debris more effectively.

2. iNaturalist 

iNaturalist is a popular digital platform for nature enthusiasts to share their discoveries, connect with a like-minded community, and contribute essential data for scientists. As you travel, simply document the organisms you encounter by capturing photos and videos. Your contributions then become integral to biodiversity research, encompassing everything from rare animal sightings to identifying invasive species. Observations of travelers can advance our understanding of the natural world. These findings aid the conservation efforts that safeguard our planet’s delicate ecosystems.

3. Other resources

Conservation through Citizen Science
Technology can be used as a tool in conservation travel through apps like eBird. Photo by Walter “CheToba” De Boever on Unsplash
  • Nature’s Notebook, where data is collected on nature’s seasonal events.
  •  Ebird, for bird lovers and outdoor adventurers alike.
  • Zooniverse, which boasts conservation projects over a wide range of topics, including climate, biology, and nature.





3. Supporting Endangered Species Through Conservation-based Travel

1. Visiting Accredited Sanctuaries

When travelers visit animal sanctuaries worldwide, they contribute to the welfare of animals requiring refuge while also promoting public awareness and education. Moreover, wildlife sanctuaries play a vital role in protecting the natural habitats of endangered species, creating a space for them to breed and thrive. 

Wildlife conservation
Responsible wildlife watching is a positive form of wildlife interaction.
Photo by Og Mpango from Pexels

Since government regulation is not guaranteed at every sanctuary, travelers must be cautious while planning their visit. Sanctuaries should be backed by an accrediting body such as the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries. Accrediting bodies keep sanctuaries accountable by creating a clear definition of what an animal sanctuary should be. One model of an accredited, ethical sanctuary is the Rescate Wildlife Rescue Center, which is a non-profit sanctuary located in Alajuela, Costa Rica, that specializes in the rehabilitation and rerelease of animals in need. 

2. Participation in Responsible Wildlife Tourism: 

Tourism has made wildlife watching, such as tiger and whale watching, profitable. The economic incentive of wildlife watching creates an opportunity for conservation. We can replace harmful practices with sustainable and ethical ones by shifting focus from animal poaching to responsible wildlife tours. As more travelers opt for responsible wildlife observations, authorities will recognize wildlife watching as a more sustainable revenue source than poaching.

Wildlife tourism has three primary forms: observations, interactions, and performances. Among these, observation is the safest and least disruptive option, allowing visitors to admire animals from a distance without disrupting them. On the other hand, interactions and performances, such as dolphins performing tricks or allowing visitors to pet tigers, come in an artificial setting that creates more room for mistreatment. By choosing observation-only encounters with wildlife, visitors can contribute positively to the cause of helping future generations of wildlife to thrive.

4.  Driving Renewable Energy Solutions 

Tourism plays a vital role in the economic growth of many island nations that bear the brunt of significant environmental challenges such as sea-level rise, coral reef bleaching, and rising temperatures. These nations, heavily reliant on tourism, understand the urgency of combatting climate change and the necessity for sustainable energy solutions in the travel sector. 

Fortunately, renewable energy sources such as geothermal heat, solar power, and wind are often readily available in popular tourist destinations. Thus, investments in renewables are a sensible choice for these areas. Zion National Park in Utah is known for its innovative, energy-efficient visitor center with facilities designed to maximize natural sunlight and ventilation. In addition, geothermal heat pumps and solar power are used to power operations. By using both passive and active sustainable design, the Emergency Operations Center in the Park reduces energy consumption by 70% without costing more than a regular building to construct.

While there is still progress to be made for clean energy in the tourism industry, there is also an incentive to invest in innovative energy solutions due to the sheer amount of energy the travel sector consumes. Renewable energy solutions are now becoming more important than ever, and tourist-driven economies are at the forefront of this development. 

Renewable energy solutions
Geothermal heat provides a source of renewable energy and serves as an attraction for travelers from all over the world.
Photo by Francesco Ungaro from Pexels

5. Creating Awareness about Conservation Through Education and Academics

The academic community, including students, professors, and scientists, can embrace travel to share ideas and knowledge. Scientific discoveries, new data, and technological advancements hold immense value when spread to communities worldwide. Traveling to diverse places, where individuals possess different educational backgrounds and thinking approaches, is a powerful catalyst for inspiring our creativity and problem-solving abilities. This exposure pushes us to think outside the box and develop creative solutions.

Study abroad programs and fellowships are an opportunity for university students to immerse themselves in new environments, broadening their perspectives and horizons. Through travel, youth become more conscious of environmental issues they might not have empathized with or cared about before. In essence, travel not only enriches the academic community but also cultivates a generation of environmentally conscious and proactive individuals.

Moving Towards a Sustainable Future

Travelers who make responsible choices have a great influence over the future of the tourism industry. However, this only becomes possible if the industry is willing to take determined steps toward sustainability and if travelers embark on their journeys with conservation in mind. There are many areas within the travel sector, such as the transportation and hospitality sectors, where progress can still be made. Even so, by viewing travel as an opportunity to support global conservation and learn about the world we live in, our journeys become far more impactful both on the planet and in our own lives. 

Interested in learning more about what Solimar is doing to support conservation in the travel sector? Click here to keep up with Solimar’s projects and partnerships in 500+ destinations!

Rhinos on world wildlife day

Celebrating World Wildlife Day 2022

During its 68th session in 2013, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) declared March 3rd World Wildlife Day. To emphasize the importance of the protection of the World’s wild animal species and plants. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) was founded on March 3rd, 1973. CITES works as an international agreement to oversee the exchange of different wildlife species and prevent them from being misused. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of threatened species, around 40,000 thousand wildlife species are in severe danger of extinction. As a result, it requires a call to action to take necessary steps to save endangered wildlife before it’s too late. World Wildlife Day 2022 is an important event all around the world. The main focus this year is on a single theme: “Recovering key species for ecosystem restoration”.

World Wildlife Day 2022

Wildlife and Sustainable Tourism for World Wildlife Day 2022

One of the world’s largest industries, tourism offers unique opportunities to local communities and to travelers around the world. Also, modern tourists are becoming more aware of their influence and are concerned about the protection of wildlife. Therefore, it serves as a great platform to raise awareness of the conservation of wildlife worldwide through tourism organizations. Tourism conservation in protected areas can help communities and biodiversity.


 Black Rhino in Africa, closeup

The endangered Black Rhino in AfricaTourism organizations can play an important role in raising awareness for the extinction of endangered species of wild flora and fauna. As the tourism industry advances, the impact of tourism also expands to a greater extent in the tourism community and wildlife. Solimar International believes in the role of tourism in the protection of wildlife via the sustainable development of tourism. Recently, Solimar International successfully conducted a project on behalf of the World Wildlife Fund’s (WWF) conservation travel program in Bhutan, Nepal, and Peru. This project helped WWF facilitate sustainable travel and motivate them to take country-specific initiatives, taking into account local cultures and traditions.

Community Tourism and Wildlife Conservation

Forests are home to three-quarters of the world’s species. However, deforestation and animal hunting still exists in some parts of the world. A reason for that is the too much dependency of some communities on natural resources. As a consequence, it is creating severe problems for some endangered wildlife species.

world wildlife day 2022 recognizes Deforestation of Amazon rainforest in Brazil for agriculture land, Source: Shutterstock

The protection of biodiversity is of immense importance for any community. It is vital that people are conscious about their actions and acknowledge endangered animal species are valuable. Hence, raising awareness among community members about protected area conservation requires environmental education and awareness campaigns. Solimar International prioritizes the conservation of protected areas, along with benefiting the host destination’s inhabitants with financial prosperity. 

We believe in sustainable economic growth, as well as the conservation of wildlife. As part of the USAID-funded Liberia Conservation Works program, Solimar is working to engage local communities in the management of their protected areas. We believe the project will serve various purposes: conserving Liberia’s rich biodiversity, restoring the ecosystem, and empowering the local community.

World Wildlife Day Calls for Community Involvement

Wildlife conservation and restoration of nature are hugely dependent on the understanding that communities are the main beneficiaries of natural resources. As the human population increases and human consumption of natural resources also rise, harming global biodiversity. Solimar believes in using tourism sustainable development in the protection of natural resources. We consider sustainable tourism for the conservation of wildlife and also to help the communities be the stewards of their own local tourism development.

Our Tourism Conservation Models focus on the improvement of biodiversity and make communities informed of environmental aspects. Although, communities are not homogeneous, and the level of awareness of residents differs on social awareness. However, Our on-site assessment helps us to undertake thorough research about a tourism destination.

Royal Bengal Tiger, National Animal of Bangladesh is also one of the endangered species. Source: Shutterstock

Our Bengal Tiger Conservation activity is an ideal model for creating awareness of communities in the Sundarbans. The Sundarbans are listed in the World’s heritage list. The Sundarbans Reserve Forest (SRF) is known as the home of various endangered species of the world. The SRF consists of exceptional biodiversity and is a useful resource for Bangladesh. Our goal was to encourage communities to participate in the protection of the Bengal tigers and the biodiversity of the forest.

We are currently working on another USAID project to continue the development of the Sundarbans as a sustainable tourism destination. Our objective is to improve tourism governance and facilitate a better conservation system in the world’s largest mangrove forest system. 

 As the tourism industry continues to play a significant role in the world’s economy, we must join forces around the globe to help ensure wildlife protection. Throughout our projects, we strive to facilitate the preservation of biodiversity while supporting surrounding communities at the same time.

Call to action: Happy World Wildlife Day 2022! Want to learn more about our tourism wildlife conservation projects? Contact us for more information. 

“We rely confidently on Solimar's deep technical experience and professionalism as tourism consultants. You always are exceeding our expectations.”
Leila Calnan, Senior Manager, Tourism Services Cardno Emerging Markets

Contact us

  • Address

    641 S Street NW, Third Floor
    Washington, DC 20001
  • Phone

    (202) 518-6192