Blue Community Program Coastal Sustainability Best Practices

Best Practices in Tourism for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Conservation

Toco_Toucan_biodiversity.jpg Tourism as an industry relies heavily on certain environments, landscapes, ecosystems, and animal and plant species to keep it a successful business; these are the main reasons people travel to tourist destinations. Because of this, tourism is the sector that should be the most concerned with preserving biodiversity, ecosystems, and landscapes. Major changes to the environment could negatively affect business. There are certain practices that I think are very important when it comes to conserving biodiversity, ecosystems, and landscapes. The most important in my opinion is developing biodiversity and ecosystem management systems to keep everything in check.

First, businesses need to do a comprehensive review of their operations and how they are directly or indirectly affecting these environmental aspects through either their supply chains or the investments they make. Then they should assess how these effects and changes could/are affecting their business. This will help gain motivation to invest in biodiversity and ecosystem management systems. In the tourism industry, this is quite easy to do since, as mentioned earlier, many tourism businesses depend directly on biodiversity and ecosystems. The next step is to develop biodiversity and ecosystem information systems, set goals and performance indicators, measure and value performance, and report results. Measuring and reporting impacts, actions, and outcomes is a good way for businesses to build trust among stakeholders and create pressure within the industry to consider these practices as well.

Next businesses need to take action to avoid and mitigate biodiversity and ecosystem risks. When developing goals, concepts like ‘No Net Loss’, ‘Ecological Neutrality’ or ‘Net Positive Impact’ and biodiversity offsets should be included. They need to assess developed and emerging business opportunities and technologies that may be useful in attaining their sustainability goals. Cost efficiencies, new products, and new markets should be explored. This would support green markets and help design efficient systems for managing biodiversity and ecosystems and possibly lead to diversification of the product. Once a business develops a biodiversity and ecosystem management system, they should integrate that system with larger corporate initiatives. Integrating the system with community engagement strategies and corporate sustainability initiatives might lead to a higher sustainability status and the enhancement of people’s livelihoods. One last strategy that I think is important is to connect with business partners and stakeholders in government and NGOs to help improve biodiversity and ecosystem management guidance and policy. The business should be a part of public policy discussions/ meetings to support regulatory reform and help develop guidelines and policies.

References

http://eclass.uth.gr/eclass/modules/document/file.php/MHXA236/34.%20Tourism_Best%20Pratice%20Benchmarking_Final.pdf

Glossary

Citation

Flynn, H. (2018). Best Practices in Tourism for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Conservation. Retrieved from http://www.bluecommunity.info/view/article/59fa308c0cf2139039278b06

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