Discover the Wild11 program – 11th World Wilderness Congress postponed (see below)

2020 is a key year in the protection of our planet’s natural places and as such you most probably heard of the 11th World Wilderness Congress (WILD11), organized by our partner the WILD Foundation. It is due to happen between March 19-26, 2020 in Jaipur India where participants will join the great gathering for the protection of life. The event also features LT&C-Example Ranthambhore National Park and Tiger Reserve, to which we offer an exciting study tour that will add value to your visit to WILD11.

The program is now live and packed with speakers and events that have the goal to make wild nature the top priority of the international agenda. Check out their website to view the program overview and the live program.

Dear 11th World Wilderness Congress Delegates and Friends,

WILD11 is facing the global uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 in the best way possible – which is not easy. This email is to inform you of the decision to indefinitely postpone the 11th World Wilderness Congress (WILD11). The safety of our delegates and the larger community is our prevailing concern as the world confronts the emerging COVID-19 pandemic. Even as I write this email, new COVID-19 cases are emerging in Jaipur, the city to host WILD11.

While this is the unambiguously right decision to make, it does not come without missed opportunities. Which is why we still need you to engage, on another level, with the ideas and actions we had planned for WILD11.
Information on registration, tour, airport transfer, hotel, and travel refunds will be found here as soon as it is available. Thank you for your patience as we continue to provide information on this page in the coming days. As we all know by now, COVID-19 was born out of an unhealthy, irresponsible, and exploitative relationship with the natural world, as so many other recent novel viruses have been. And we are encouraged by China’s new commitment to halt the legal trade of wildlife and the so-called “wet markets” that abuse wild nature and spawn novel diseases that jeopardize global human health.
 
But the dilemma of our broken relationship with nature is much larger than wet markets and the legal and illegal trafficking of wild animals.Even as the United Nations prepares to gather later this year in the hopes of setting ambitious and urgently needed protected area targets for the next decade, other sectors of society continue to accelerate the destruction of Earth’s life-giving landscapes. In the next 30 years, our species is set to double the amount of urban square footage at the same time it is expected to lay 25 million kilometres of road – enough to encircle Earth 600 times.
 
The 11th World Wilderness Congress was the platform upon which we would unify the dual emergencies of climate breakdown and mass extinction with a single solution: wild nature. It was also a global gathering specifically planned to challenge world leaders with the following questions:
How much nature do we need to survive? When is it more feasible to protect nature, when it is still relatively intact (as it is now) or thirty years from now, when it is even more fragmented than it is today and requires restoration on an almost unimaginable scale?
This year, 2020, already beset by the many drawbacks of a dangerously unhealthy relationship with nature, is also rich in unprecedented opportunities to change course on a planetary scale and take the first steps toward a better and more stable future.
 
And that is why we still need you to engage with the ideas and outcomes to come out of the process leading up to WILD11, especially the Survival Revolution.
 
The biodiversity crisis underlies the climate emergency and is the greatest threat to life on Earth, but still many around the world do not understand just how much we all depend on wild nature for our own survival. The Survival Revolution is poised to help change that by expanding public awareness and the demand for immediate public action around the world, and especially in five cornerstone countries: Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa (BRICS).
 
We are recruiting ambassadors and influencers for the Survival Revolution and ask that you sign up here. Details of how you can help influence the coming United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity will be forthcoming.
 
Additionally, we urge you to embark upon your own journey of discovery with these other practical outcomes to emerge from the WILD11 process:
In early March, I will participate in the very first national-scale climate emergency capacity building workshop for Indian state-level officials. This is funded by the Tata Trusts and India Climate Collaborative, and a first-level WILD11 programme.A Global Charter for Rewilding, developed by world-class conservation experts, to be launched as a result of the process leading up to WILD11.Expansion of the Survival Revolution public outreach network.
Finally, we ask that you stay tuned in the coming months for news about next steps, new plans, and upcoming gatherings to build dynamic and powerful communities and coalitions for the protection of our wild and healthy Earth.
 
In deep appreciation for your support now and in the future as we build support for a wild and healthy planet, I conclude this difficult, but very right and necessary message.
 
In strength and love, and moving forward,
 
Vance G. Martin
President
WILD Foundation

LT&C Future Workshop on Rügen and Vilm, Germany, March 1-2, 2020

2020 will be a pivotal year for the global biodiversity. In this context, we are preparing a “Future-Workshop” (March 1-2, 2020, on the islands of Rügen and Vilm, Germany), where specially invited members will participate, contribute and set our own goals. LT&C, which has been established in 2014 as a voluntary organization facilitating and profiling support from tourism for reaching the protected area goals, will use this year to evaluate its contributions and effectiveness and adapt to the new goals, which will be decided in October at the CBD COP15. We have to look into how LT&C can be a leading NGO to make tourism a major advocate and concrete supporter to safeguard global biodiversity. For this purpose, we are preparing a “Future-Workshop” (March 1-2, 2020, on the islands of Rügen and Vilm, Germany), where specially invited members will participate, contribute and set our own goals. This event will be organized exclusively for invited LT&C-members, who are interested to join a strategic workshop outlining the future development of LT&C. Excursions on the island of Rügen and on Vilm will provide insight to the LT&C-Examples Jasmund National Park Center “Königstuhl” and the Tree-Top Walk of the “Naturerbezentrum Rügen”.

For the workshop, we will use the facilities of the International Academy for Nature Conservation (INA) on the island of Vilm. Our member and former director of INA, Prof. Hans Dieter Knapp, has organised the venue and drafted the below programme. The event is scheduled prior to the ITB in Berlin, where traditionally a number of our international members take part.

See the schedule of the event here (a detailed agenda for the workshop the registered participants will get later): 

Deadline for registration is January 31. If you are interested to join (there are only 2-3 places left) you should as soon as possible

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Cycling Africa Cape to Cape: LT&C member George Podaras has reached Sudan

As we reported in summer last year, in September 2019, aspiring videographer, cyclist and member of LT&C, George Podaras took on an exciting journey across Africa’s most southern point to the most northern. His mission: to document the continent’s abundant wildlife and how tourism benefits nature conservation in its National Parks. On his way he has passed several members and LT&C-Examples including the Cape Whale Coast, South Africa, Friends of Karura Community Forest Association, Colors of Zanzibar and the Borana Conservancy and Lodge in Kenya.

After some ups and downs, setbacks and victories, George has made it to Sudan marking the challenging last thirds of his journey through Africa:

After cycling approximately 8000 KM, I had made it to Khartoum, Sudan all the way from the most southern point of Africa. It has been a journey of highs and lows but i have managed to keep pushing on, witnessing incredible landscapes and fascinsting cultures.

Kenya allowed me to dive deep into a few national parks including Borana park, which have done a magnificent job of maintaining the precious wildlife there, including both the white and black rhino. Thanks to Borana Lodge, they were kind enough to give me a roof over my head and take me to the vast protected lands which fun fact;  lot of was what the Lion King was based on.

Entering Ethiopia seemed daunting due to the high altitudes i had to climb and reputation of people throwing stones but i was so pleasantly suprised by the frriendly people and though some of the mountains were certainly hard to climb; the view was worth every sweating moment. The amazing 5p coffee was a great source of energy. Another good motivation is that there are no mosquitos after 2000 feet!

Now in the realm of the Sahara, I am officialy in North Africa. The changing environment is refreshing but challenging due to the opposing winds. I try to look at it as Gods air condition for me! Sudan is huge with a low population which makes it easier to camp, and anyone I do come across always welcomes me in for a coffee and a warm bed. I feel I am now at the beginning of the end of my journey. Hard to beleive that I made it all the way up here and have 30 days left of cycling.

I have witnessed issues due to climate change, mainly drought, which explained the unprecedented amount of elephants in Botswana and Zambia looking for water holes, causing friction between humans. Locals had told me they had never seen Victoria Falls this dry for this long. People in Malwai were also concerned with the low water. Finally the locals of Kenya and Tanazania expected some rain in November; they assured me it had never been this intense with flooding – ever in their lifetime. As I am raising money for ocean life I thought it was relevant to include some of the issues I witnessed towards the environment, among the beautiful fragility of it.

Thank you for anyone who had sponsored and supported me this far. Remember its all for a good cause and from what I have seen I can assure you this planet is absolutely worth fighting for.

To support George on his mission, you are welcome to make a donation to LT&C’s Member, the Dyer Conservation Trust – a dedicated charity with the mission to protect marine life and tackle the fight against plastic and the decline of wildlife – on his GoFundMe page, or follow him on Strava.

#30×30: At least 30% of the World on Land and Sea need to be protected!

2020 will be a pivotal year for the global biodiversity. The nations and organizations of the world will have to evaluate how far the goal has been reached to protect at least 10% of the ocean’s- and 17% of the land’s space. They will have to analyze how well the different ecosystems are thereby represented and how well the global network of protected natural areas is actually managed. That opportunity is coming soon: 193 governments are scheduled to meet in Kunming, China in October 2020 to adopt new global biodiversity targets. The current set of global goals to end biodiversity loss and restore ecosystems, known as the Aichi Targets, expires this year.  At COP15 of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), new goals will have to be decided for the protection of the global biodiversity to be reached by 2030.

In parallel to the huge awareness boost last year about the urgency to protect our climate, an impressive movement to safeguard the global biodiversity (known as #30×30) is growing rapidly. And clear connections are made between climate and biodiversity. It becomes common understanding that protecting or restoring 30% of the planet by 2030 for nature itself would provide huge carbon capture as well as biodiversity benefits. 

Costa Rica, which LT&C profiles as a leading example, where an entire country is linking tourism and conservation, has become last year also the governmental leader of the #30×30 campaign: on the eve of the United Nations Secretary General’s Climate Summit in September, President Carlos Alvarado Quesada of Costa Rica, called for the formation of a High Ambition Coalition of nations to push for a Deal for Nature that will protect 30% of the planet by 2030. The governments of Seychelles, the UAE, Monaco, Gabon, and Mozambique have joined the initiative already that time, and more and more are following. As LT&C reported earlier, also Canada wants the world to decide on 30% protected areas as the goal for 2030 and has set already its nation<al goals in this direction.

LT&C-Example Costa Rica. Photo: Peter Prokosch

Other parts of the society had laid the groundwork for this goal. IISD reported already in May last year, that Scientists Call for Protecting 30 Percent of Lands by 2030: “Scientists have issued a renewed call for a ‘Global Deal for Nature’ (GDN) to “save the diversity and abundance of life on Earth” and to “fast-track the protection and restoration of all natural habitat by 2030.” They argue the GDN could provide a companion pact to the Paris Agreement on climate change, which could help conserve species, avoid catastrophic climate change and secure essential ecosystem services.”

As Ocean Unite put it: “Although the Ocean covers 70% of the Earth’s surface it
is still woefully under-protected, with only 2% strongly protected from destructive or extractive activities.
The science is telling us we need to do much more to ensure a healthy Ocean for future generations. Strong protection of at least 30% of the Ocean is needed by 2030 (30×30) to build the resilience of ocean life to adapt to climate change and buffer it from other threats like overfishing.

LT&C-Example Wadden Sea. Photo: Peter Prokosch

Referring to that “the world is suffering massive ecosystem degradation, unprecedented wildlife decline and extinctions“, The Nature Conservancy stated: “Governments and businesses now have an opportunity to take a critical, collective step to arrest this decline: to agree to protect at least 30 percent of the world on land and sea.”

30% may not even be enough. The WILD Foundation since longer runs the campaign “nature needs half“. To protect 50% of the planet will be an important topic at the 11th World Wilderness Congress in March in India.

LT&C, which has been established in 2014 as a voluntary organization facilitating and profiling support from tourism for reaching the protected area goals, will use this year to evaluate its contributions and effectiveness and adapt to the new goals, which will be decided in October at the CBD COP15. We have to look into how LT&C can be a leading NGO to make tourism a major advocate and concrete supporter to safeguard global biodiversity. For this purpose, we are preparing a “Future-Workshop” (March 1-2, 2020, on the islands of Rügen and Vilm, Germany), where specially invited members will participate, contribute and set our own goals.

LT&C-Example Napo Wildlife Center, Yasuni National Park, Ecuador. Photo: Peter Prokosch

New Study on Tourism and Nature: Key Market Trends and Important Implications for SMEs

“Do not see sustainability as a trick or marketing tool but as an integral part of the business philosophy” is one of many important findings of a new desk study on Tourism and Nature. The report especially focusses on identifying suggestions for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and was conducted by the European Tourism Futures Institute (ETFI) within the framework of the Interreg project PROWAD LINK. The 14 project partners in Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway and the United Kingdom working with interested SMEs will use the “nature-business-benefit-cycle” concept to develop new, sustainable products and offers in the pilot regions of the Wadden Sea (DK, D, NL), Geiranger Fjord (NO), Wash & North Norfolk Coast (UK).

For SMEs, the report provides an overview of key trends as well as actionable insights to deal with or anticipate these trends and their implications. Included are hands-on fact sheets on eight special interest topics: cycling tourism, bird watching tourism, kayaking tourism, heritage tourism, walking & hiking tourism, food tourism, fishing tourism, and cold water tourism. The fact sheets and the full report are available for download.

Summary of the Report on Key trends in nature tourism and sustainable travel:

The shift to sustainability.

There is an increasing awareness by many stakeholders such as policymakers, marketing organization, management organizations of (natural) territories as well as amongst visitors and (selected) tourism businesses of the impacts of tourism (e.g. discussion on overtourism, visitor pressure, limits of acceptable change). Sustainability is becoming a ‘standard’ and progressing beyond that as a selection criterion and for places/sites that fully integrate all aspects of sustainability, it can become a reason to travel in itself. As many visitors become more experienced travellers and many news items on the negative impacts of tourism circulate, many visitors become very much aware of the need for sustainability and, in line, many are adapting their decision-making behaviour and onsite travelling behaviour. Visitors are selecting destinations for their attention to sustainability, are willing to actively contribute to these believes and are likewise willing as well as able to positively adjust their spending behaviour. As such, a focus on sustainability offers business opportunities. Moreover, when well- implemented, tourism is able to create value5 beyond merely economic returns and create value for ecosystem preservation, the viability of socio-cultural customs, and an enhanced sense of place and local pride.

The growing demand for meaningful experiences.

For visitors, the quality of experiences is getting more and more decisive. Visitors increasingly search for experiences that matter, i.e. that generate memorable experiences, contribute to their quality of life, or wider (SDG) goals. They are relatively affluent and experienced travellers, which drive their search for quality experiences, uniqueness, authenticity, local culture (including Airbnb), gastronomy but also luxury, convenience, design/architecture and excellent hostmanship/hospitableness. This trend challenges stakeholders to continually enhance the (spatial) quality and experiential value of local tourism products and sites.

The increasing variation in travel motivation (fluid identity of tourists).

Visitors of today trend to have a fluid or hybrid identity: shift and switch from one activity or preference to another. Nature based-tourism could be just one type of tourism or activity that is sought by visitors as a part of or as a stopover in a longer, more diverse journey. For example, combining a city trip with an escape to more rural, natural places. Implications for SMEs are to expand on the multiple reasons- to-travel, to match the fluid identity of tourists and capture the attention are larger groups.