South Georgia Habitat Restoration Project – Support through visitor education

For the last two centuries seabird colonies on the sub-Antarctic island of South Georgia have been devastated by invasive rats and mice introduced by sealers and whalers. In the absence of sufficient government funding to tackle the issue, the South Georgia Heritage Trust (SGHT, a UK charity) and the Friends of South Georgia Island (FSGI, a US non-profit) have been working with vessel operators to educate and enlist the support of the 6000-7000 visitors they bring to South Georgia each year. Alison Neil from the SGHT is answering our questions why the project is a good LT&C example:

Tourists who are privileged to travel to the remote parts of the globe such as South Georgia, and to experience the magnificent wildlife found in these places, can carry an important environmental message home. Many island species are under attack because of non-native invasive species introduced by man. People have a collective responsibility to repair the mistakes of the past and better protect the environment in the future, but members of the public often only become aware of environmental threats in remote places like South Georgia when they travel there.

Visitors to South Georgia fall in love with the island and want to help protect it and its wildlife. The Government of South Georgia has insufficient funding to tackle the big conservation challenges that the island faces, which is why the South Georgia Heritage Trust (SGHT) and the Friends of South Georgia Island (FOSGI) organisations were established.

Tourists welcome the opportunity to financially support environmental initiatives and the charities provide a mechanism for them to do so. Visitors are told about the conservation work when the team employed by the SGHT to run the Grytviken Museum (the island’s only tourist facility) comes on board their cruise ship, and when they visit the museum itself. The South Georgia Government also provides an educational briefing video to the cruise ships which every passenger must watch, and which explains the importance of biosecurity measures for visitors. Over the last few tourist seasons, the fundraising efforts in South Georgia have generated £200K / USD 320K per Antarctic season. This funding is vital to the continuation of the Habitat Restoration project.

SGHT and FOSGI are forging ever closer links with the vessel operators as the project progresses, providing them with tools such as DVD footage of the conservation work that will entertain as well as inform visitors. The next step in the relationship is likely to combine tourism and fundraising even more closely by organising a cruise for potential and existing major donors to visit the island and be inspired first-hand by the wildlife.

Charities should be encouraged to work with tourism companies to engage their clients. Tourists actually want to make a positive impact on the places that they visit, so tourism professionals generally welcome initiatives to educate and enlighten their customers about the places they visit. It enhances their experience and gives them a sense of ownership and investment in the place visited, which translates into happy customers, and more often than not, return visits.

Make a donation

We are grateful that you support the work and mission of LT&C! We accept donations through Credit Card, PayPal or international bank transfer:

Alternative 1: Donate through Credit Card:

Alternative 2: Donate through PayPal (amount in Euro):

Please click the Donate button and then choose your PayPal account

Alternative 3: Donate through international bank transfer

Bank details:
Cultura Sparebank
Pb. 6800, St. Olavs plass
N-0130 Oslo

Name: Linking Tourism & Conservation,
Account no.: 1254 05 95168
IBAN: NO8712540595168

Please mark payments with your name and/or email address

Sign up now

Sign up for an LT&C membership by filling in the details below.

Add your LT&C-Example

Would you like your LT&C-Example/Initiative to be listed on our website? Please fill in the form below.

  • Would you like your LT&C example/initiative to be listed on our website? Please fill in the form below.
  • Please tell us about your LT&C example/initiative and how it fits with Linking Tourism & Conservation (LT&C)
  • Please elaborate on the following topics:
    a) Political/management support
    b) Financial support
    c) Educational support
  • Website with more information on the LT&C example/initiative
  • Please leave your contact details so that we can get in touch with you. This information will not be displayed on our website unless you ask us to.
  • By submitting this form you accept our current LT&C Privacy policy and that we may store and manage your contact information and that we may use the submitted material on our website.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.