Study Tour to LT&C-Example South Georgia

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King Penguins, South Georgia. Photo: Oceanwide Expeditions

Falkland Islands – South Georgia

If you ever wished to come to the subantarctic island of South Georgia with its huge colonies of king penguins and albatross species, with its (Norwegian) whaling history (Grytviken) and Shackleton’s memorial, this LT&C-Study Tour provides a unique opportunity. Continue reading “Study Tour to LT&C-Example South Georgia”

New LT&C Partner: European Organisation for Sustainable Development

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EOSD » The Sustainability Partner

The implementation of the EU Strategy for Sustainable Development requires that governments, industry and society work together to achieve the aims laid down in the EU Sustainable Development Strategy. There is also a need for specialized actions, interventions, programs and initiatives at all levels – government, non-government, businesses and community levels – to successfully implement this historic and needed strategy. Continue reading “New LT&C Partner: European Organisation for Sustainable Development”

Jasmund National Park Center, Germany – Model for a self-sustaining visitor and education centre

Jasmund National Park Center, Germany – Model for a self-sustaining visitor and education centre

The National Park Center Königsstuhl supports the beech-forest  National Park “Jasmund” at the German Baltic Sea coast of the island of Rügen. It is a world-leading example of a self-sustaining visitor and education centre, where tourists finance themselves to become inspired supporters of national parks.

The Jasmund National Park is located on Rügen Island in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany. It is famous for the great chalk cliffs, which form the coastline for 12 km at more than a hundred metres above sea level. The white cliffs stand out from the blue of the Baltic Sea and are framed by the green of the ancient beech forests. Travellers coming from Sweden to Germany are welcomed by this scenery of Jasmund’s coast as the first impression of Central Europe.

The most significant chalk rock is the so-called Königsstuhl (German = “king’s chair”) with an altitude of 117 metres above sea level. The chalk cliff coast of Rügen is like a cradle of tourism in Germany. At the end of 18th century, painters discovered the exceptional natural beauty, and they were followed by writers, scientists and royals. So it became a tourist destination more than 200 years ago. It is also an area with a history in nature conservation, having been protected since 1929 as a nature reserve.

Behind the cliffs, the beech forests, springs, streams and mires are also part of the national park, as well as a 500-metre strip of the Baltic Sea. Consisting of only 31 km², this is the smallest national park in Germany. The old nature reserve was enlarged and designated as a national park in 1990, under the East-German National Park Programme a few days before the German reunification.

On 25 June 2011, the Ancient Beech Forests of Germany were inscribed as an extension of the Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians to the UNESCO World Heritage List. Nearly 500 ha of the Jasmund National Park is included as a component part in the trilateral serial property of the Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and the Ancient Beech Forests of Germany.

The Königsstuhl National Park Center is the main visitor area for the Jasmund National Park. It was opened in 2004, and with around 300,000 visitors per year (as of 2008), it is one of the most popular national park centres in Germany. Its aim is to provide information about the national park and to bring alive the uniqueness and beauty of nature for its visitors. The centre offers an interactive exhibition, a multi-vision theatre and other events and activities in the outdoor area. It is named after the nearby chalk cliffs of Königsstuhl. The operator of the centre is the Nationalpark-Zentrum Königsstuhl Sassnitz gGmbH, whose members are the environmental foundation, WWF Germany, and the town of Sassnitz.

This world-class national park visitor and education centre is an LT&C example because:

  • Tourists, which in this case are mostly not conservationists, are fascinated by the beauty of nature. They are inspired to support the national park and a global protected area network. Many of the several hundred thousand visitors are just coming to see the famous icon, the chalk cliff Königstuhl, but their combined entrance fee and bus ticket lead them to the national park centre first.
  • This education is financed 100% by the tourists themselves through their combined ticket. After the centre was established by WWF, and private and government sponsors, it has been financially self-sufficient.
  • The idea to develop a network of ancient beech forests in central Europe, specially protected within the UNESCO World Heritage, is promoted and supported by the tourists.
  • The centre significantly contributes to the management of tourism activities in the national park in a way that ensures any disturbance or damage of nature is minimised.

The Königsstuhl National Park Center is constantly monitoring its impact. It aims to learn from these findings, as well as from other national parks. It looks at how to adapt or improve its functionality so it continues to garner understanding and support from its visitors about the need for improved management in Jasmund National Park and in the global protected area network at large.

The experiences of the Königsstuhl National Park Center could probably best be transferred to other areas and countries, where beech forests need to be better protected and where visitor centres could be placed close to a particular famous tourism site. Increased exchange of experiences with tourism and/or park managers of such areas also would be helpful.

Conference on the Central Highlands of Iceland

The Icelandic Natur Conservation Association Conference (INCA) and the Icelandic environmental organisation Landvernd performed a conference on the future protection perspectives of Iceland’s Highlands. The conference took place in Iceland’s national sports hall, Laugardshöll. The idea to enlarge the Vatnajökull national park to the entire highlands was for discussion and received major support from the participants. Peter Prokosch was speaking on behalf of LT&C on  Linking Tourism & Conservation (LT&C) for the Icelandic HighlandsLT&C Iceland 15.5.2015 M. See also clip of the News of RÚF, the main TV channel of Iceland. Continue reading “Conference on the Central Highlands of Iceland”

Napo Wildlife Center, Yasuni National Park, Ecuador – World-leading indigenous tourism maintaining a biosphere reserve

Napo Wildlife Center, Yasuni National Park, Ecuador – World-leading indigenous tourism maintaining a biosphere reserve

Napo Wildlife Center Ecolodge has been carefully built and designed by the Añangu indigenous community to offer tourists maximum privacy and comfort in Amazon Wildlife Tours. Luxury rooms and commodities, first class attention, beautiful views of the jungle and the lake, nature within your reach… it is a real paradise for nature lovers, eco-travellers, and adventure seekers. Located in Yasuni National Park in the Ecuadorian Amazon Rainforest, the Napo Wildlife Center is considered one of the best eco-hotels in the world and a beautiful example of Linking Tourism and Conservation, where tourism supports a protected area. The Añangu community has been recognized worldwide for its conservation of the flora and fauna found in this region. Yasuni National Park has been declared a biosphere reserve by UNESCO.

The Añangu community, within the Yasuni National Park and hosted by Napo Wildlife Center, has been nationally and internationally recognized for their conservation and environmentally friendly work. The commitment of the whole community has meant that hunting, fishing and timber collection are now prohibited in this area. All activities are now focused on the protection of the environment. As evidence of the rich biodiversity inside Yasuní National Park nearly 4,000 species of plants have been recorded, with the possibility that this number will increase. A scientific report prepared for Yasuní registered 173 species of mammals (80 species of bats), 567 species of birds, 105 species of amphibians, 83 species of reptiles, 382 species of fish and more than 100,000 species of insects. The Anangu Kichwa community built the Napo Wildlife Center Ecolodge which borders the Añangucocha lagoon. The hotel opened to tourists in 2004. During the consolidation of the ecotourism project in mid-2007, the people of the Anangu community achieved became the sole administrators and managers of the Napo Wildlife Center. This hotel is visited by 3,000 tourists a year, most of them from Europe and the United States. Each group has a community guide and a professional naturalist guide translator able to provide information in the language of the tourist group. Without doubt, the main attraction of NWC is the incredible diversity of plants, birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles living in this important area. The decision of the Community to concentrate on tourism and conservation has had benefits for our community. Historically, the level of education in the population has been low: only 46% of the population had completed primary education, while 26% had not completed secondary education. The community assumed the project of encouraging continued education, thus preventing migration away from the community and increasing opportunities for the future. From here the community managed to increase high school attendance, and 2012 saw the first class graduate in sustainable technology baccalaureate with the main objective of sustainable community tourism. 50% of students belong to neighbour communities and the other 50% belong to Anangu community. The overall number of students is 136, including coast native pupils, Ssecoyas, Kichwa, etc. Education is free, covered mostly by the state, and supported also by the community.

Currently, the Kichwa Community Añangu has several projects, developing attractive activities for the visitors, enhancing their Amazon experience.

Currently, our General Manager, Jiovanny Rivadeneira, runs seminars for other indigenous associations sharing the Community’s experience on how the tourism project developed, in order to encourage replication of the success of the Napo Wildlife Center in other areas, and thereby highlighting the successful link between our conservation activities and sustainable tourism.

Chumbe Island Coral Park – Ecotourism supporting conservation, research and environmental education at the world’s first Private Marine Park

Chumbe Island Coral Park – Ecotourism supporting conservation, research and environmental education at the world’s first Private Marine Park

Chumbe Island Coral Park champions integrated eco-system based marine and forest conservation management sustainably financed through eco-tourism.

Chumbe Island Coral Park (CHICOP) in Zanzibar/Tanzania has created the first private Marine Park in the world, and the first managed Marine Protected Area in Tanzania. The objective of the investment was from the beginning to create a model of financially, ecologically and socially sustainable Marine Park management, where ecotourism supports conservation, research and environmental education for local people.

In 2008, CHICOP became a founding member of the flagship program of the Jochen Zeitz Foundation, the Long Run Initiative. This initiative promotes and certifies tourism enterprises, which directly manage, or significantly contribute to the management of a natural area of conservation value and demonstrate their commitment to sustainability through the 4Cs: Conservation, Community, Culture and Commerce. Performance and processes across the 4Cs are assessed through a certification scheme that awards destinations with the Global Ecosphere Retreat (GER) distinction for the highest level of sustainability. CHICOP become the first GER certified Long Run Destination in 2011, in recognition of promoting marine conservation in Tanzania and setting an example for genuine eco-tourism and environmental education and awareness creation.

Chumbe Island Coral Park is a private investment in marine and forest conservation with a commercial component, the eco-lodge, which generates the income needed to run the park. Therefore, revenue generated from eco-tourism is reinvested in supporting park management and environmental education programs.

Benefits to local communities

Increased fish catches in the vicinity: The most direct benefits local people can have from a conservation project is the protection of their natural resources for sustainable livelihoods.

As a no-take zone, the Chumbe Reef Sanctuary has created a protected breeding ground for fish and other marine organisms that helps restock depleted fisheries and recovery of degraded fishing grounds, with the so-called “spill-over effect” of fish into adjacent fishing grounds, where fishermen have indeed reported increased catches.


Employment and career opportunities: The successful integration of environment and community is an important benchmark for eco-tourism. In order to realize this as a fully managed nature reserve, and also due to the particular eco-technologies installed, CHICOP’s operations are very labour-intensive. With only 7 rooms, CHICOP has probably the highest employee/room ratio of any tourism business in Tanzania, and three times the international average for eco-lodges. Wherever possible, CHICOP employs people from nearby village communities, though they have limited formal education and thus need much on-the-job-training. Of the 43 employees, 95% are Tanzanians, over two thirds from local communities, and 5% expatriates. In particular, former fishermen were recruited and trained as park rangers and stationed on the island. Gender considerations are also key, with women being given preference and currently forming 40% of the Chumbe workforce. It is important to note here that a third of the staff are directly involved in conservation management and education.

Market for local services, produce and handicraft: Since guests are offered typical Zanzibarian cuisine, which is a delicious blend of Asian, Arabic, African and European traditions, CHICOP creates a ready market for local produce, rather than imported foods. This not only reduces waste and pollution by minimizing packaging materials of industrially processed food but also raises awareness and pride for the local culture. Other income opportunities for local people include building materials for the eco-lodge, handicrafts sold in the boutique, the outsourcing of road and boat transport and craftsmen services during maintenance.

Sustainable financing for conservation: The sustainable management and promotion of key ecosystem services (sustainable fisheries and biodiversity conservation) for the Chumbe region has been widely recognized, including mention in the recent UN Secretary General’s report to the General Assembly on protection of coral reefs for sustainable livelihoods and development for Rio+20, which states: ‘‘A noted example for PES (Payment for Ecosystem Services) within the context of coral reefs habitat is the private, non-profit Chumbe Island Coral Park Ltd (CHICOP) in Tanzania…. Especially local fishermen benefit from the Reef Sanctuary, as research findings confirmed that fish inside the protected no-take zone travel out and increase their yields in the vicinity”.

Education Programs & Research

Public communication, education and awareness-raising on the vulnerability of the marine and forest ecosystems and the importance of sustainable eco-tourism are key pillars of CHICOP’s Environmental Education (EE) programs, which are regularly conducted on Chumbe Island and in Zanzibar. The programs offer free island excursions, training workshops and peer education sessions for students, teachers and community members. Based on the approach of ‘Education for Sustainable Development”, these programs help to close the gap between theoretical knowledge and practice, involve a different level of learners and seek solutions to environmental concerns that build on indigenous knowledge, culture and traditions. By the end of 2014, over 6300 school children and 1100 teachers had visited the island to experience the natural environment with its diverse ecosystems.

The experiential hands-on activities for schoolchildren and all visitors include guided snorkelling in the reef and walking along the forest trails using all senses such as sight, touch, hearing, taste and smell while ensuring that the teaching contents link up with the national school curricula. CHICOP also supports schools through environmental talks/seminars and helps organize environmental clubs, which are much encouraged by a popular competition for a sustainable future for schools, i.e. the Chumbe Challenge Environmental Award.

Political support & capacity building

CHICOP has also helped to raise conservation awareness and understanding of the legal and institutional requirements among government officials. The very innovative and unusual investment proposal of a privately established and managed Marine and Forest reserve required the involvement and approval of altogether seven Government departments. This took over four years to negotiate, followed by intense discussions on the Management Plans 1995-2016, which were developed by CHICOP consultants with wide stakeholder participation. This lengthy process has gained CHICOP political support and prepared the ground for improvements in the legal framework for marine conservation, environmental protection and management. Furthermore, an Advisory Committee that was established in the year 1995 includes village leaders, government officials, local academics and the CHICOP management, and meets at least twice per year for discussions about achievements and challenges.

Chumbe has been certified by The Long Run certification scheme and thus reached top standards of sustainability in the categories of the “4 C’s – Conservation, Community, Culture and Commerce and there is not much left that we can do better than maintaining standards in all categories, and to work on reaching long-term inter-generational sustainability.

However, as a bottom line, private protected areas need to maintain the necessary occupancy rate that secures sufficient income to fund park management and non-commercial programs. This can be challenging sometimes when the destination as a whole goes through or is wrongly perceived to be geographically close to, social unrest, election turmoil, terrorism incidents or much-publicized diseases. For example, though not occurring in East Africa, Ebola has dealt a major blow to East African and Tanzanian tourism, and this has been aggravated by terrorist attacks in Kenya.

It can be done but needs a number of favourable conditions concerning the investment climate and the tourism sector in general and for private investment into conservation in particular.


From our work in Chumbe and through lessons learned accumulated over a period of 2 decades, we have established that private management of marine protected areas can be effective and economically viable, even in a challenging political environment. Investment in conservation and in environmentally sound technologies, as well as the employment of additional staff for park management and environmental education programs, raises costs considerably, making it difficult to compete with other tourism enterprises. Favourable conservation and investment policies and taxation would encourage such initiatives but are not available in Tanzania. Close cooperation with government agencies in establishing and protecting this reserve has enhanced the understanding of environmental issues among local and national authorities. In addition, the establishment of the Chumbe nature reserve has benefited local communities by generating income, employment, market for local produce, developing new work skills, and restocking commercial fish species in adjacent marine areas (spill-over). To avoid user conflicts, it is easier to preserve an area that is not used intensively for subsistence or other economic endeavours by local communities.

With the threats of climate change, marine conservation needs more political support from governments and the international conservation community, as well as recognition of the contributions that the private sector can make to both, effective conservation area management and livelihoods of local people on the ground. The long-term security of tenure and contracts, together with a favourable political, legal and institutional environment are needed to attract more private and community investment in marine conservation particularly in the developing world. The Chumbe Island Coral Park project looks forward to sustaining these and collaborates with LT&C in mainstreaming results, experiences and lessons for the achievement of sustainable coastal tourism around the world.

The International Wadden Sea (NL/D/DK)

The International Wadden Sea (NL/D/DK)

The Wadden Sea is located in the South Eastern part of the North Sea. It stretches from Den Helder in the southwestern part along the barrier islands of the Dutch coast, the German Bight and the Danish coast to Blåvandshuk in the northeastern part.

The Wadden Sea is the largest unbroken system of intertidal sand and mud flats in the world, with natural processes undisturbed throughout most of the area. It encompasses a multitude of transitional zones between the land, sea and freshwater environment, and is rich in species specially adapted to the demanding environmental conditions. It is considered one of the most important areas for migratory birds in the world and is connected to a network of other key sites for migratory birds. Its importance is not only in the context of the East Atlantic Flyway but also in the critical role it plays in the conservation of African-Eurasian migratory waterbirds. In the Wadden Sea, up to 6.1 million birds can be present at the same time, and an average of 10 to 12 million birds pass through it each year.

The international Wadden Sea, shared by the three countries, The Netherlands, Germany and Denmark, is a good example of LT&C. Why, is explained by Dr Harald Marencic, Deputy Secretary of the Common Wadden Sea Secretariat (CWSS).

The Wadden Sea extends over three countries, the Netherlands, Germany, and Denmark. In 2009 it was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List and is one of the largest tourist destinations in Europe. For more than 30 years the governments of the Wadden Sea countries work together on trans-boundary nature conservation to the benefits of present and future generation. Tourism actually benefits from these conservation policies as visitors expect intact nature and conservation measures. Thereby the political support for the protection of the transnational Wadden Sea World Heritage has significantly grown over the recent years. Also, the cooperation between tourism and conservation has been strengthened, e.g. through voluntary agreements and by participating in partnership programmes with national parks. With the establishment of a trilateral environmental education programme in cooperation with WWF, public support for the conservation of the World Heritage is envisioned to grow.

With the development of a Strategy for Sustainable Tourism in the Wadden Sea World Heritage Destination, all relevant governmental and non-governmental stakeholders agreed how sustainable tourism should be developed in order to meet ecological requirements of the World Heritage status. This is based on the assumption that tourism contributes to sustaining this World Heritage. In addition, tourism is profiting from the exceptional conservation status of the Wadden Sea. This innovative to a sustainable tourism strategy has been recognized and appreciated by the UNESCO World Heritage Centre in Paris. This strategy has been supported by the EU in the frame of the transnational project PROWAD (Protect & Prosper/Sustainable Tourism in the Wadden Sea) through the “INTERREG IV B Northsea Programme”

The tourism strategy for the Wadden Sea is recognized as a model for other World Heritage sites due to the way that the tourism sector plays an active role to implement the World Heritage Convention. In this context all three Wadden Sea states work together with the UNESCO World Heritage Centre in Paris, supporting the programme for sustainable tourism in marine World Heritage sites (cooperation between all 46 such sites). This includes the 2014 established partnership with the Banc d’ Arguin national park in Mauritania in order to improve the protection of migratory birds along the East-Atlantic Flyway. Close cooperation exists also with South Korea and China in order to exchange experience with protection and management of mudflats. This includes environmental education, information centers, and sustainable tourism. Participation in the LT&C programme is a further opportunity to share experiences with other areas and at the same time profit from their experiences.

Protecting the entire Central Highlands of Iceland as National Park – supporting the Conservation Movement on Iceland

The Vatnajökull National Park, established in 2008, includes all of Vatnajökull glacier as well as the national parks previously existing at Skaftafell in the south and Jökulsárgljúfur in the north, as well as significant new ice-free areas. Hence today’s national park covers 14% of Iceland (about 13.920 km2 as of June 2014) and ranks amongst Europe’s largest. In general, national parks are protected areas which are considered unique because of their nature or cultural heritage. The unique qualities of Vatnajökull National Park are primarily its great variety of landscape features, created by the combined forces of rivers, glacial ice, and volcanic and geothermal activity.

The Vatnajökull Nation Park covers about 1/3 of the pristine wilderness of the entire Icelandic Highlands

The establishment of the Vatnajökull National Park is a result of a major national environmental movement in the 1990s to protect the Icelandic Highlands as one of Europe’s largest wilderness areas against physical fragmentations such as dams, power lines and roads. There is today increasing discussions, whether the national park needs to be extended over the entire highlands of Iceland in order to cope with these continuous threats. 

The story began in 1997 when the Iceland Nature Conservation Association (INCA) was established with the primary objective of conserving and protecting Iceland’s wilderness. INCA’s goal was to establish a national park in the highlands, encompassing some 40 percent of Iceland’s total land mass of about 100,000 km2. The catalyst was a plan by the government to build a huge hydropower complex in Eastern Iceland, damning two out of four major glacial rivers running north and east from the Vatnajökull Glacier, destroying waterfalls, drowning valuable highland areas and wilderness. The construction would have impacted Europe’s largest remaining wilderness area of some 15 thousand square kilometres. ReadHighlands_IcelandSummer2012[1]

Karahnjukar dam

The campaign of INCA in the 1990s for the protection of the entire Highlands of Iceland was supported by the WWF Arctic Programme. It resulted in half a success: The establishment of the Vatnajökull National Park was an important achievement. However, an aluminium smelter was built in Reidafjordur on the East coast of Iceland and the related Karahnjukar Project of a huge power plant was realised in the highlands. Today two major glacial rivers running north off the glacier have been destroyed by the Karahnjukar Project. However, two of the rivers with their watersheds are still untouched and should be protected for all future.

In 2015 INCA (a member of LT&C) and Landvernd joined forces. Their common and continuous goal is to complete the success story and get the entire Highlands of Iceland designated as a national park!

Establishment of a National Park

Also, the Icelandic Environment Association, Landvernd, says: “It is important to look at the central highlands as one continuous whole and endeavour to defend and protect it both today and for future generations. Landvernd has, along with other nature conservation associations, proposed that the central highlands of Iceland be declared as protected with the establishment of a national park. There are many strong arguments for such protection: the unique nature as described above and that Icelanders are responsible for, the opportunity for a unique tourist experience through sustainable tourism and wealth creation for the nation. Outdoor activities in almost unspoiled nature are also very important for people’s physical health and well-being.


Landvernd believes that the establishment of a national park would not only ensure the protection of the area against further development by the energy industry but also create a great opportunity for comprehensive planning of the area. It is worth noting that about 38% of the area is already protected either as a national park or a nature reserve.”

The Highlands. Photo: Landvernd

Icelanders support the idea

In March 2015 INCA received the results of an opinion poll by Gallup. The results are very encouraging as 61.4% of those surveyed say they support a national park in the Central Highlands. The support is up by 5 percentage points since the same question was asked in 2011. The other good news is that at the party congress of the Social Democratic Alliance, a resolution was adopted, calling for a national park in the Central Highlands.

Photo: Landvernd

LT&C, therefore, joins the movement and asks its members, and in particular tour operators and tourists to Iceland: get involved and support the joint efforts of the Icelandic conservation organisations to protect the entire Highlands of Iceland as a national park! 

See also the statement by INCA, Landvernd, Bjork, Patti Smith, Darren Aronofsky and others who organized a Concert called, Guard the Garden.

LT&C will continue to inform about this important initiative on this page and may play a facilitation role to get both tourism and conservation into the same boat.


If you would like to support this initiative, please do not hesitate to contact us:

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UK creating three of the largest marine protected areas (MPAs) in the world ?

LT&C-partner Mission Blue recently published the following great news:

Dr. Sylvia Earle was recently at Ascension Island to urge the British Government to safeguard the maritime zones of the UK’s overseas territories by creating three of the largest marine protected areas (MPAs) in the world. The United Kingdom has jurisdiction over the fifth largest maritime zone in the world – an area of ocean nearly 30 times the size of the UK itself. The three MPAs proposed would more than double the size of existing protected areas in the ocean. That’s one step closer to the Mission Blue goal of 20% Ocean Conservation by 2020!

Continue reading “UK creating three of the largest marine protected areas (MPAs) in the world ?”

LT&C-Study Tour “Cleaning the shores of Spitsbergen” 2015

glacier-mouth-krossfjorden-svalbard_e178-2200x1472pxIf you want to see, where LT&C once started, or if you have never been in the Arctic, or if you want to make a very special present to a friend, or if you just want to be active yourself for the environment on Svalbard, get inspired by the High Arctic nature and observe polar bears on the sea ice, you should look at the below offer of LT&C member Oceanwide Expeditions and register for the expedition through LT&C.
Continue reading “LT&C-Study Tour “Cleaning the shores of Spitsbergen” 2015″

Svalbard – The establishment of national parks and nature reserves through stakeholder collaboration, maintained by tourism

Svalbard – The establishment of national parks and nature reserves through stakeholder collaboration, maintained by tourism

Coinciding with Norway’s celebrations of the 75th anniversary of the Svalbard Treaty and the country’s sovereignty over the 62,700 km2 far north archipelago in 1995, a major threat to the pristine wilderness appeared. A coal company planned to construct the first long-distance road through the archipelago’s largest green tundra area known as Reindalen. The implementation of that plan would have been the first in a series of infrastructure events that would have had extremely negative consequences for the future of Svalbard. And in particular other Svalbard Treaty members could have insisted on their right to follow that example of Norway and build their own roads and produce related damage to nature. This served as the impetus of the formation of a coalition of conservation NGOs (WWF, Friends of the Earth Norway (NNV) and Birdlife Norway (NOF)) and tourism bodies (the Norwegian Trekking Association (DNT), and later the Dutch “Oceanwide Expeditions”, Svalbard Polar Travel and German “Spitzbergen Tours”). A campaign entitled “No Road trough Svalbard Wilderness!” was started. A four-page folder was produced and people were asked to send a postcard to the Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland.

The time was right and the unique coalition produced incredible political weight and results. Approximately 4000 postcards were sent to protest the Svea road and they had an impact on the Norwegian Parliament, the Storting. The first reaction of the Government was to put the road on ice when their white paper on the future of Svalbard was discussed in the Parliament. The Storting then formulated the Norwegian State Goal to make “Svalbard the best-managed Wilderness area in the world” and requested the Government to put in particular Svalbard’s tundra areas, such as Reindalen, under better protection in form of new national parks.

What was the outcome of this tourism-conservation coalition?

A series of new national parks (in addition to formerly existing ones, which protected glaciers and bare mountain areas) covering the main tundra and other valuable areas have been established. Today, almost the entire archipelago is protected with 7 national parks and 21 nature reserves. The Government of Norway released a special environmental law, with a particular focus on keeping the pristine wilderness. In addition, the Svalbard Environmental Protection Fund has been established. Today, about 60 000 tourists come to Svalbard by plane or ship and are required to pay a fee of 150 NOK. This fee is placed into the environment fund, which is used every year in a transparent way for education, cultural heritage, information, nature conservation and research projects for the management of tourism and protected areas. Therefore, Svalbard is not only one of the best-protected wilderness areas, it serves also as a leading LT&C example.

Svalbard is a good example for all 3 reasons:
a) Joined political action of both tour operators and conservation NGOs resulted in new national parks;
b) Entrance fees are used in a transparent and efficient way and are used for projects and initiatives with the purpose of protecting the environment.
c) Several tour operators with their highly skilled guides are doing a great job educating tourists about the values and importance of Svalbard’s nature and its protection. Svalbard is increasingly visited and used to inspire people toward actions for nature conservation and caring for our global environment.

It would be important that the use of the Svalbard entrance fees and the projects of the Svalbard Environmental Protection Fund will be more concretely explained and illustrated to tourists. The authorities behind the Fund could do a better job to increase the transparency of the use of the tourist entrance fee. LT&C could play a facilitation role in this respect to make the Svalbard example even more attractive for replication elsewhere.

The success of the joint action of tourism and conservation on Svalbard was already shared in some way with other Arctic regions when, under the coordination of WWF, a larger group of companies, agencies and experts from both tourism and conservation produced a set of Arctic Tourism Guidelines. They were translated into several languages and distributed in the entire circumpolar Arctic and called “Linking Tourism and Conservation in the Arctic”.

For a number of years an award, sponsored by the Finnish conservationist Heidi Andersen, was given to a tour operator, which demonstrated convincing examples of Linking Tourism and Conservation in the Arctic. These guidelines and related activities could be in the future revitalised to produce impact in other parts of the Arctic. The concrete potential for using the Svalbard example can be seen for the neighbouring Russian Arctic National Park, including the Franz Josef Land archipelago. The transparent entry fee system for concert management of the parks could be applied there as well for other parks in the world. Bringing park managers and decision makers to Svalbard could inspire them to learn and replicate elements of the Svalbard LT&C example.