New IUCN Guidelines on Tourism and Visitor Management in Protected Areas

IUCNthe world ’s most authoritative organisation defining nature conservation made up of government and non-government members, has shed new light on the complex relationship between tourism and protected areas. Their new “Guidelines on Tourism and Visitor Management in Protected Areas” is a MUST-READ and an important resource for anyone interested in linking tourism and conservation: PAG-027-En

The new guidelines have been produced by Yu-Fai Leung, Anna Spencely, Glen Hvenegaard and Ralf Buckley, leading experts of the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas Tourism and Protected Areas Specialist (TAPAS) Group, with the support of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) on behalf the Federal German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), and the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development, as well as North Carolina State University. It’s actually the 27th report in the Best Practice Protected Area Guidelines Series of IUCN, and it provides an overview on topics, such as “weighing positive and negative impacts of protected area tourism” or “adaptive management for sustainable tourism”.

As the authors of the Guidelines write in their Foreword: “The rapidly expanding demand for tourism development associated with protected areas emphasizes the need to provide clear guidance that will contribute towards sustainable tourism consistent with the primary conservation objectives of protected areas. The legal, political, economic and social context for tourism in and around protected areas vary widely across the globe, yet there are many common elements and a diversity of experiences that can enrich the understanding of those involved.”

As Linking Tourism & Conservation (LT&C) focuses on and promotes best cases, where tourism is supporting protected areas (LT&C-Examples), our members will find in this volume contains not only descriptions of different experiences and details of how such cases can be achieved, it also provides valuable ideas and recommendations that others can learn from and replicate.

What falls into the mission of LT&C is, for example, described as follows: “Visitation and tourism can also create economic benefits for protected areas and surrounding communities and help to create greater support for conservation. In many developed countries, tourism in and around protected areas can encourage political support for protected areas and justify government budget allocations. The economic value of tourism and visitation, including social economic and welfare gains, as well as direct fees and revenues to protected area agencies, thus becomes a lobbying tool for conservation agencies and advocates.”

The IUCN report finds that the use of best practices to minimise the negative impacts of tourism and maximise the positive ones as the “sustainability challenge” for the future.  More specifically, the Guidelines underscore the important role that LT&C plays by contributing to effective communication and partnerships among protected area rights-holders and stakeholders.

Download and read the Guidelines: PAG-027-En