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Tourism and Wetlands
Wetlands are home to some of the richest biodiversity on the planet and the ecosystem services they provide play an essential role in sustainable development impacting directly the lives of millions of people worldwide, most especially the poor, who depend on the essential ecosystem services wetlands provide.
In recognition of the interdependence between sustainable tourism and the conservation and sustainable management of wetlands, in February 2010, UNWTO signed a Memorandum of Cooperation with the Secretariat of the Convention on Wetlands (www.ramsar.org). The enhanced cooperation between both organizations will facilitate the development of project proposals and joint initiatives aimed at reinforcing the role of wetlands and their biodiversity ecosystems for sustainable tourism development.
Within this framework, UNWTO, thanks to the financial contribution of the Ramsar Convention Secretariat, is implementing a project on Development of Ornithological Tourism to reduce poverty in the “W” Regional Park of Benin, Burkina Faso and Niger. This is a major national park in West Africa which has been included in the list of Wetlands of International Importance of the Ramsar Convention. This initiative is included in the portfolio of projects under the ST-EP initiative.
Coasts and Islands
Despite the diversification of the global tourism market and the growing importance of special interest forms of tourism, coastal and beach tourism is still the dominant segment in terms of number of tourists. Coastal and island destinations experience an increasing pressure on their natural and cultural resources, due to the ever increasing demand and tourists activities that are highly concentrated in time and space (seasonality, infrastructure and tourism operations in a narrow coastal zone). Therefore, UNWTO has been promoting tourism development as part of Integrated Coastal Zone Management practices, through international and regional collaboration, technical cooperation, research and capacity building activites.
For detailed information on Tourism and Small Islands Developing States (SIDS) please click here
On the occasion of the the United Nations Conference on Small Islands Developing States, held in Apia, Samoa, from 1 to 4 September 2014, UNWTO launched the Leaflet "Tourism in SIDS / Building a more sustainable future for the people of Islands". To download the Leaflet click here.
For further information on UNWTO's participation and role at the United Nations Conference on Small Islands Developing States please visit http://sdt.unwto.org/content/tourism-and-small-islands-developing-states-sids
In 2012, UNWTO launched the publication "Challenges and Opportunities for Tourism Development in Small Island Developing States". This publication presents an overview of the status of tourism in Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and draws together and updates a wide range of evidence on tourism performance and impacts and on the factors affecting the future development of the sector in SIDS, and provides policy orientations, guidelines and other tools to the various tourism stakeholders in SIDS on how to address these challenges and develop and manage tourism in a sustainable manner for the benefit of their population.
At Ramsar’s COP11 in Bucharest, Ramsar’s Secretary General, Anada Tiéga, the Secretary-General of UNWTO, Taleb Rifai, and the Romanian Secretary of State for Regional Development and Tourism launched the publication "Destination Wetlands: Supporting Sustainable Tourism" on 9 July 2012. This publication contains references to existing guidelines on sustainable tourism as well as many other useful materials on developing and managing sustainable tourism. It is relevant to wetland site managers, tourism and wetland policy-makers and planners, and the private sector (including those investing in, operating or developing tourism in wetlands). More information at Ramsar's web site.
On the opportunity of the Tourism Side Event at the United Nations Global Conference on Small Island Developing States in Mauritius 2005, UNWTO launched a special report under the title "Making Tourism Work for Small Island Developing States", examining the economic dimension of tourism in small island states, as well as its environmental and socio-cultural implications. This report provides evidence of the key importance tourism has for the sustainable development of many islands and for the achievement of the UN Millennium Development Goals. It also addresses the key issues that need to be considered by small island nations and provides policy orientations, guidelines and other tools to the National Tourism Authorities, the tourism industry and other tourism stakeholders in SIDS on how to develop and manage tourism in a sustainable manner for the benefit of their population.
The publication "Awards for improving the coastal environment: The example of Blue Flag" was produced jointly with the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) and the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) in 1997 to disseminate the Blue Flag Programme in non-European countries. Today, The Blue Flag campaign has expanded to the Caribbean, South Africa and other regions. UNWTO is actively collaborating in this process, and is also a Member of the Blue Flag International Jury.
For more details visit: http://www.blueflag.org