Of US$600 billion generated per Year from Protected Areas only is 2% reinvested

A study, which revealed the most visited protected areas in the world
are in the United States and the United Kingdom, has shown that global
protected areas generate over US$600 billion each year while only 2%
of this figure is reinvested in the safeguarding of their future.

Etoscha national park. Namibia is profiled as LT&C-Example. Photo: Peter Prokosch

LT&C so far has focused on another figure, which was made public at the World Parks Congress 2003 in Durban: US$30 billion is needed  each year for the proper management of a globally complete network of protected areas (as the CBD with its Aichi Target 11 is striving for by 2020). LT&C argues this is less than 0.5% of the world tourism turn-over. And as tourism is most interested in protected areas this 0.5% should be possible to raise from tourism. LT&C therefore focuses its work on profiling cases, where tourism is already setting examples in this direction in order that others may replicate such examples. The new study gives reason to raise a related question: What can tourism contribute that the 2% of the US$600 billion generated each year from protected areas will be raised to at least 5% (equal US$30 billion) to be invested in the completion and safeguarding of a global protected area network ? LT&C penguins of the world will try helping to answer this question.

Here is the remaining text of the press release from IUCN, already published March 11, 2015:

Screen Shot 2015-09-15 at 13.10.19
The Lake District in England was one of the top ten most visited protected areas Photo: Nick Thorne
Screen Shot 2015-09-15 at 13.10.44
The Peak District is one of Europe’s most popular protected areas Photo: CDNI

“The study, conducted by academics from Cambridge University and the
United States, highlights the financial worth of natural assets at a
time when governments increasingly integrate biodiversity into their
national accounts. It makes clear, however, that the income generated
by protected areas vastly eclipses the US$10 billion annual outlay on
maintaining the world’s national parks and nature reserves.

“Our findings show there is a clear need for increased investment in
conservation,” said IUCN’s Dr Matt Walpole who worked on the study on
behalf of UNEP’s World Conservation Monitoring Centre in Cambridge.
“It is an astonishing figure that illustrates the value people place
on experiencing nature”.

The study also revealed the ten most frequently-visited protected area
sites on the planet (of the 556 for which the researchers had direct
data) were all in North America and Europe, with the Golden Gate
National Recreation Area in the US and the Lake District Natio
• Golden Gate National Recreation Area, US
• Lake District National Park, UK
• Peak District National Park, UK
• Lake Mead National Recreation Area, US
• North York Moors National Park, UK
• Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, US
• Dartmoor National Park, UK
• New Forest National Park, UK
• Grand Canyon National Park, US
• Cape Cod National Seashore, US

“It is fantastic that people visit protected areas so often, and are
getting so much from experiencing wild nature – it’s clearly important
to people and we should celebrate that,” said lead author Professor
Andrew Balmford, from Cambridge University’s Department of Zoology.

“These pieces of the world provide us with untold benefits: from
stabilising the global climate and regulating water flows to
protecting untold numbers of species. Now we’ve shown that through
tourism nature reserves contribute in a big way to the global economy
– yet many are being degraded through encroachment and illegal
harvesting, and some are being lost altogether. It’s time that
governments invested properly in protected areas.”

The researchers based their data on visit rates to over 500 protected
areas, as well as by estimating variations in visitation according to
a protected area’s distinct properties and the local socioeconomic
conditions. Estimates were made for all but the smallest of the
world’s protected areas to help produce an overall survey of the
global extent of the phenomenon and its economic significance.

Among the approximate total of 8 billion visits a year, some 3.8
billion were recorded in Europe and 3.3 billion in North America. The
study considered 556 protected areas (all terrestrial and above 10
hectares in size) in 51 countries, and utilised 2,663 annual visitor
records covering the period between 1998 and 2007. One clear
conclusion to be drawn from the research is a dissatisfaction at the
amount governments spend on safeguarding the protected areas – with
the figure of US$10 billion per year “widely regarded as grossly

Walpole added: “Even without considering the many other benefits which
PAs provide, our estimates of the economic impact and value of
protected area visitation dwarf current expenditure—highlighting the
risks of under-investment in conservation, and suggesting
substantially increased investments in protected area maintenance and
expansion would yield substantial returns.”

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