The findings from the Living Planet Report (ZSL & WWF 2020) could not be clearer, we must act now #ForNature in order to halt the “catastrophic decline” in the numbers of animal species.
The report, which consolidates data collected from across the world, has identified that since 1970, the population abundance of animals (including mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish) have, on average, dropped by more than two-thirds in just over 45 years. Regionally, Latin America has been the worst affected, experiencing a 94% decline in biodiversity, whilst Africa experienced a 65% decline and Asia – 45%. Humanity’s unsustainable pressure on the natural world is to blame.
Why should this matter?
The health of people and that of the natural environment are increasingly intertwined; the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic have made this undeniable. We need nature for our own well-being.
The Report concluded that with global efforts from governments, businesses, and individual people to minimise impacts, these planet-damaging trends can be halted, and even reversed.
What can tourism do?
We know that tourism puts an enormous stress on the natural environment, local land use, and natural habitat and biodiversity loss. These effects can gradually destroy the environmental resources on which tourism itself depends.
However, managed well, tourism can influence the better protection of the natural environment and its biodiversity, through tourism revenue and operation, valuing and investing in nature conservation and ecosystem services.
Policy influencers in the travel and tourism sector have long since called for sustainability in travel but, whilst championed by some, few businesses appear to have taken up the mandate. Economic growth has trumped destination wellbeing, and ‘overtourism’ soon generated destination degradation and local disdain.
Sustainability can no longer be regarded as an ‘aim to have’, but an integral component of all that we do. But is it enough? Could we do more to reverse the downward spiral to future ruin?
I believe that tourism must not only be sustainable, but it must also strive to make destinations better places. To identify, and minimise negative impact, adopt sustainable and responsible measures, support and engage local communities, and to communicate the importance in doing so. This will help to return trust in travel.
Will tourism Invest-in-Nature?
ATTA Member, ANIMONDIAL, the animals in tourism specialist, is offering the travel and tourism industry the opportunity to Build Back Better for Animals and nature. Delivering a step by step programme that assists travel businesses to:
Maximise positive impact – Adopting measures to protect the animals involved in tourism.
Build resilience – Mitigating zoonotic disease transfer and public health risk in the supply chain.
Combat illegal wildlife trade – Ending the unsustainable trade in ‘endangered’ species.
Invest-In-Nature – Offering tour operators alternative experiences that enhance product offerings.
Bring back trust in travel – Awarding businesses that make a proven effort to protect animals.
There is no better time to ACT #ForNature and #BuildBackBetter for Animals.