Destination Flyways

Turning one billion tourists into one billion opportunities to protect the world's original long-distance travelers

In 2012, a record one billion tourists crossed international borders - a true milestone in international travel and a clear sign of the strength of the tourism sector. Destination Flyways channels this strength into a force for global biodiversity conservation and enhanced livelihoods for local communities by creating a network of sustainable and resilient destinations.

Each year, millions of migratory birds set out to travel the world, flying along the same routes, also known as flyways. Spanning continents and oceans, and used by a myriad of bird species, the flyways represent one of the most spectacular and valuable assets of the world’s natural heritage.

During their travels, migratory birds depend upon a chain of vital sites for breeding, staging and wintering. Due to their natural values, these sites are often managed under different conservation schemes and also endowed with great tourism potential. However, external pressures continue to grow, representing a threat for migratory birds, key habitats and the ecosystem services that they provide. Destination Flyways uses an innovative approach to promote and enhance their conservation.

By providing an adequate framework for sustainable tourism management and diversifying the tourism offer along the flyways, Destination Flyways will generate revenue for improved management of biodiversity and spread the benefits of tourism to local communities, while creating attractive experiences for tourists.


Key objectives

  • Enhanced conservation of key habitats and species: by developing and implementing site management plans bringing together environmental and tourism objectives, sustainable tourism will serve as a strategic mechanism for the conservation of vital sites for migratory birds and the spread of benefits to the local community
  • Enhanced local livelihoods: by developing and marketing innovative sustainable tourism products in collaboration with local communities and authorities and the private sector, which will result in employment opportunities and greater competitiveness of the tourism destinations
  • Tourism positioned as an engine for sustainability and behavioural change: by carefully monitoring its impacts to allow prioritizing sustainable tourism as a viable alternative in comparison to other productive sectors and disseminating the value of ecosystem services
  • Effective implementation of Multilateral Environmental Agreements: by sharing local success stories and fostering the exchange of knowledge within the various levels of government and across a global network of flyway destinations

Read more about the preliminary phase of the project

Find out more about the Destination Flyways inspired celebrations of World Migratory Bird Day 2014



Led by UNWTO, key partners with sound experience in the field of conservation and tourism have joined forces to implement the Destination Flyways project.

The preliminary phase of the project is ongoing with support from the Federal Ministry of the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety of Germany.

Get involved!

The Destination Flyways partners welcome the contributions of interested international and national organizations and individuals.

For more information on how to get involved, please contact Virginia F. Trapa at



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