Tag: conservation

tourism for conservation

Can Tourism Support Conservation?

A question we always get in our line of work is can tourism really support conservation efforts? Yes, conservation and tourism are interconnected in many ways! Tourism involves visiting places of interest, and conservation involves protecting places of interest. Tourists can combine the two by visiting and supporting areas that actively practice conservation. In some cases, a tourist can actually decide where they would like to visit based on conservation efforts in the area. The increasing popularity of visiting destinations with that in mind is seen with more people visiting national parks in the US or the Galapagos Islands.

Types of conservation to support through tourism

  1. Wildlife conservation

This most popular type of conservation is normally based around a specific animal or animals. Tourists chose destinations for wildlife conservation to see or interact with their favorite animals.

Destinations to best participation in wildlife conservation tourism include La Jolla, California to see the sea lions or whale watching in Hawaii. Participating in activities that involve learning about wildlife or seeing wildlife supports organizations working to help protect the wildlife. The more popular wildlife tourism is, the more support different organizations get from the public, and in turn, they are better able to protect wildlife.

Sea lions on the beach at La Jolla Cove in Southern California, with sea lions playing in the surf. Tourism helps support the conservation of this colony of sea lions.
Sea Lions in La Jolla Cove, California

2. Cultural Conservation

Cultural conservation is crucial when working in destinations. It is important that tourism does not erode the traditions and customs of a place. Cultural conservation can include shopping at local markets to support communities. UNESCO’s heritage sites are locations that hold cultural and historical significance to a region or area. These locations are great examples of where tourism and cultural conservation come together. 

3. Environmental Conservation

The third type of conservation is environmental conservation, where the efforts go beyond a single animal and focus on an environment. The national parks are a great example of how tourists can visit an area that specifically uses their profits to protect and conserve the land and create a unique opportunity where tourists can experience the environment first hand in different ways, such as camping.

How does tourism support conservation?

Tourism is important for conservation for multiple reasons. One reason is because it can financially support conservation efforts. Tourists can eat locally to support a community, or they can choose to participate in a tour where a portion of the cost goes directly to conservation efforts. Most conservation efforts actively teach people the importance of protecting different environments and inspire them to care about the new places they have seen. You’re more likely to want to save the turtles if you’ve actually seen them! 

Financial support is very important when considering conservation efforts, but knowledge and the spread of knowledge is just as important. Tourism provides the opportunity for travelers to learn more about both wildlife and the environment they are visiting, but it also gives them the opportunity to relay what they learned to friends, family, blogs or other social media. 

What is a real life example of tourists supporting wildlife conservation?

One great example of tourism supporting wildlife conservation is Camp Jabulani in South Africa. This is a luxury safari camp that provides a 5-star safari experience with game drives, spas, and hot air balloon rides, but they are also famous for their elephant preservation efforts. When tourists visit this camp, they are directly supporting the conservation of the elephants on the camp’s reserve and any future wildlife rehabilitation and habitat restoration efforts the camp carries out.

Camp Jabulani has rescued orphaned or displaced elephants and has introduced them into the herd that is living on the camp’s reserve. The camp cares for the elephants and has created a sanctuary where the elephants live freely with the help of the camp staff. Tourists are able to visit the camp and learn about the importance of elephants in an ecosystem, the efforts to create a wild experience for the elephants, and the rehabilitation care given to the rescued elephants. This is a great example of how tourism supports conservation, because without tourists, this camp would not be able to care for these elephants that don’t have a chance of survival in the wild. 

An elephant with its trunk in the air during the elephant experience at Camp Jabulani in South Africa. This experience contributes to the conservation of African wildlife.
An Elephant at Camp Jabulani

How can I, as a tourist, help support conservation?

There are many different ways a tourist can purposefully support conservation efforts during their trip. A great way is to do research before your trip to see if there are any related projects currently being managed by the hotel or location you are staying at. Some hotels offer tours that teach tourists about the surrounding environment, and in turn, profits from the tour go to conservation efforts.

Another easy way a tourist can support conservation is by respecting outdoor areas. This includes picking up trash after a beach trip, staying on a path during a forest walk, and not feeding or touching the nearby wildlife. These efforts help keep the environment healthy and prosperous.

It’s also important to research before you buy. Make sure the hotel, tour, or restaurant that claims to be conserving isn’t actually exploiting. Look for companies or organizations who focus on education and don’t allow the tourists to disrespect their surroundings. This means the organizations don’t disrupt the natural life cycle by feeding animals, waking up animals, picking flowers, and more. This is exploitation of the natural environment and can be very harmful. EcoClub has an extensive list that provides great examples of tours with a positive impact. 

An elephant at Camp Jabulani being led back to their sleeping area at sunset. There is a lake in front of the elephant with the elephant's reflection on the water and a sunset behind it. The program at Camp Jabulani helps conserve these animals and their habitat.
An Elephant Wanders at Sunset Near Camp Jabulani

Where should I visit next to support conservation efforts?

Finding your next destination to support conservation can be overwhelming. Our website lists many projects we’ve undertaken in incredible destinations around the world. You can read more about the work Solimar has done with the Choco community in Colombia, the efforts to conserve Bengal tiger habitats in the Sundarban region, and many others! Read more here about why Southern Tanzania is a great destination whose wildlife depends on tourists like you. The locals and safari camp sites here (along with many other places in southern and Eastern Africa) focus on anti-poaching and conservation efforts.

about 100 penguins at Boulder Beach in South Africa. This area is know for its array of wildlife, making conservation extremely important here.
Penguins at Boulder Beach, South Africa

Keep up with Solimar and our conservation projects here – don’t forget to like us on Facebook and LinkedIn!

stunning ocean and shades of blue of capurgana, colombia

Partaking in nature based tourism while visiting Capurganá, Colombia is a tool to drive economic success, protect biodiversity, and build a strong social impact.

explore nature based tourism while visitingCapurgana Colombia jungle

Colombia is one of the most biodiverse countries in the world. This provides a tremendous opportunity to improve its competitive edge for nature based tourism both internationally and domestically. In fact, USAID Nature Tourism Market Research shows that for international travelers, experiencing the biodiversity of Colombia was the highest nature-based motivation to visit the country (USAID, 2021). Colombia also has extremely diverse landscapes, from the Caribbean coastal desert of La Guajira, tropical rainforests on both the Pacific and Caribbean, brisk mountainous cities of the Andes, grassy plains of Los Llanos, and of course the dense Amazon of the South and West. It’s no wonder the domestic tourism market of Colombia is also attracted to these nature tourism areas, enjoying the beauty of the natural attractions and connecting with the rural and indigenous communities. Visiting Colombia and making the adventure to Capurganá is the perfect way to engage in nature based tourism.

What is Nature-Based Tourism? 

The Government of Colombia provides the definition of nature based tourism as the interrelation and appreciation of the environment in its pure state. Conceptualizing this with the definition of sustainable tourism, and you have nature as the driver for economic benefits, socio-cultural development, and environmental preservation of landscapes and biodiversity. Together, these nature tourism activities are developed in response to the needs of the visitors, destinations, host communities and the tourism industry. Nature tourism is seen as an umbrella product, with ecotourism, adventure tourism and rural tourism underneath. 

Meet Capurganá, Colombia! 

Where the dense, tropical jungle meets the Caribbean Sea lies the epitome of natural wealth that is Capurganá, Colombia. The lush, green jungle hosts an incredible amount of Colombian animals, insects and amphibians, while the sea boasts abundant marine life. See the chart below for a few examples of plants and animals in Capurganá, Colombia:

 

what can you do and see while visiting capuragana colombia

Capurganá Nature Tourism Meets Adventure and Eco-tourism

The definition of adventure tourism is to engage in adventure activities, such as hiking, climbing, rafting, scuba, and the like, and is often set in the wilderness or remote areas. How to get to Capurganá? Well, it is about as remote as you could ask for. Not accessible by car, you can get to Capurganá by boat or small airplane. The abundance of natural attractions provides a haven for adventure tourism activities. Hike the coastal paths to natural pools or nearby towns. Scuba dive or snorkel in the turquoise waters. Boat to nearby mangrove forests. Kayak across the bay or to the nearby island. And trek across country borders to Panama through the jungle and over the mountains, by way of the small town of Sapzurro, Colombia. The importance of conserving Capurganá’s vast amount of natural capital is vital to the success of local sustainable tourism development. To that end, the Adventure Travel and Trade Association explains adventure tourism as “even more dependent than other forms of tourism on human and nature capital. The protection and thoughtful promotion of these resources is crucial for the social, cultural and environmental integrity of any destination.”

Ecotourism in Colombia is abundant, and if you are looking to plan an eco trip, then Capurganá, Colombia is a fantastic choice. The International Ecotourism Society provides the definition of ecotourism as “responsible travel to natural areas that conserve the environment, sustain the well-being of the local people, and involves interpretation and education.” There are many activities in ecotourism in Capurganá through the plethora of ecotourism areas within and surrounding the town. La Coquerita is a coastal nature reserve offering access to a stunning natural pool. A hike through the shallow rivers and jungle allows the observance of bustling wildlife and lush flora. Often times the accommodations in Capurganá provide a local tour guide to help build environmental and cultural awareness along the trip. Some private sector businesses even build their values around ecotourism and nature tourism concepts. Casa Galú boutique hotel seeks to provide meaningful experiences to their guests by preserving its natural and wildlife surroundings. They inspire responsible interactions with its pristine setting through low impact facilities and respectful wildlife observance. 

Conflict Zones: a difficult history, current opportunities, and a bright future

Many of us know about Colombia’s history of war and forced displacement. But as peace has spread over the recent decade, Colombia is making a new name for itself. “Make Tours, Not War” is the slogan of Colombian tour operator Impulse Travel. Building off of the socio-cultural development aspect of sustainable, nature-based tourism, Impulse Travel is “writing a new history – one of peace, resilience and hope.” Watch this short video displaying how they use “the power of travel to create a peace movement through tours.”

Capurganá is located in the Chocó department and Acandí municipality. The Colombian government’s website on regional improvement strategies has designated the Acandí municipality as 1 of 12 former (in the past) conflict zones within the Chocó department. It can take many years for former conflict zones to recover post-conflict, and this initiative will put various strategies in place for the betterment of the local economies, environment and socio-cultural development. Nature tourism is the perfect tool to achieve this in Capurganá. If it can be more widely taught and properly executed then it will generate income, conserve biodiversity, and reduce harmful land-use changes. 

Solimar International has worked in several regions that have seen conflict, including the department of Chocó in Colombia. Check out Solimar’s approach to addressing tourism challenges in conflict zones, particularly through stakeholder engagement, organizational structuring and strategic marketing. 

Effective Education and Strategic Planning for Nature Tourism Benefits

By now, we know that Capurganá has an abundance of natural wealth, with great value to both the local community and travelers. But that is not to say it is always properly utilized, appreciated, or even recognized by locals and visitors alike. In Capurganá, education on the benefits of nature tourism may just be the number one need to properly implement these concepts. Through research, education, planning and monitoring, nature tourism development strategies “can be an effective tool for stimulating economic growth, alleviating poverty, conserving biodiversity, preserving culture and traditions, and creating employment opportunities for local communities,” as stated by Solimar International’s strategic planning approach. Of course, it is not solely up to the local communities in destinations like Capurganá to uphold the concepts of sustainable, nature tourism. The travelers must be educated as well. To that end, the nonprofit organization RISE Travel Institute’s mission is to inspire responsible, impactful, sustainable and ethical travel through traveler-focused, online educational courses that cover topics such as biodiversity conservation, animals in tourism, inclusivity, and much more. 

Tayrona National Park in Colombia is
Tayrona National Park, Colombia

A major opportunity to build sustainable, nature-based tourism development in Capurganá comes from capacity building programs. In remote destinations, access to adequate resources for proper training can be a challenge. Solimar International describes their successes in workforce development trainings in Colombia’s Chocó department, near the Utría National Park. Other National Parks in Colombia also provide a great example of structured organizations that implement strategic plans and monitor actions for biodiversity conservation, negative land use changes, and improving local livelihoods.  

Capurganá currently has a handful of individual people and private companies that work towards responsible environmental action and to improve local culture. However, it lacks the formal organizational structure with proper authoritative figures for effective implementation and monitoring. Capurganá could greatly benefit from a structured Community Based Organization to engage and empower destination stakeholders for strategic, nature tourism planning. As shown in Solimar International’s blog on community-based tourism, this is an extremely effective and customizable tool. Take the Jamaica Community Experiences project for examples on community tourism branding, training and product development. Another valuable tool is Solimar International’s courses on Destination Management Organization (DMO) Development, where they teach DMO stakeholders how to responsibly manage and market tourism within their destination. 

Capurgana, Colombia on the map

Conclusion: From Local to National Opportunity

Capurganá, Colombia’s high level of natural wealth is a prime opportunity to build on the concept of nature tourism. To improve its competitiveness and long-term sustainable tourism development plan in order to generate income, conserve biodiversity, reduce land-use change and build a stronger community. As the country of Colombia seeks to position itself more competitively in the nature tourism industry, small communities like Capurganá could benefit immensely from joining the movement. 

Want to learn how to help your destination or community reach its sustainable tourism development goals? Check out these resources on Solimar’s website, or contact us for more info!

 

stunning ocean and shades of blue of capurgana, colombia

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

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