Tourism can help protect world’s wetlands – UNWTO

Around half of the world's tourists visit wetlands
Around half of the world's tourists visit wetlands

Tourism is providing income for the conservation of the world’s wetlands, according to a new publication by the UNWTO.

The ‘Destination Wetlands: Supporting Sustainable Tourism’ publication, jointly produced by the UNWTO and Ramsar Secretariat, details 14 case studies in which sustainable tourism practices in wetland areas have contributed to conservation, economic growth, poverty reduction and the support of local cultures.

The publication was launched at the 11th Meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands in the Romanian capital Bucharest, from 6-13 July.

“There is a trend among tourists of turning towards green forms of tourism, towards destinations that offer wildlife and heritage,” said Cristian Barhalescu, State Secretary of Romania’s Ministry of Regional Development & Tourism. “As wetlands, with their diversity and richness, become subject to tourism development, the interconnection between tourism and wetlands should be given special attention by all actors involved.”

“Wetlands are one of tourism’s greatest assets, attracting millions of tourists each year,” said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai. “UNWTO is determined to sustainably manage wetland tourism through sound polices and planning, thereby conserving them for the enjoyment of generations to come.”

International tourist arrivals are expected to top one billion in 2012, and the UNWTO estimates that half of all tourists travel to wetlands, particularly coastal areas.

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