9. Protect Coastal Habitat & Cultural Heritage

Protecting coastal habitat & cultural heritage is a key strategy to coastal habitat and ocean protection.

Sea life depends on the beaches, estuaries, marshes, sea grass, and wetlands for their survival. Tourism depends on clean and healthy beaches for its economy.

The Waves of Change partner Tampa Bay Watch has been a model for preserving coastal habitat through a variety of programs including:

Walt Disney Vero Beach Resort offers a model for tourist industry involvement through such programs as:

  • Eliminating towels left on the beach by requiring a refundable deposit for towels

  • Closing drapes at dusk to protect turtles from lights

  • Using special LED lighting that has been installed to both meet codes and protect turtles

  • Providing extensive guest communication for turtle friendly activities during turtle season

  • Having Disney Cast members participate in the Ocean Conservancy beach clean-ups

  • Participating in turtle tracking programs for State and Federal Fish & Wildlife

Protecting cultural heritage includes any form of artistic or symbolic material signs which are handed on from generation to generation to each culture. Cultural heritage can be tangible or intangible.

Intangible cultural heritage is defined by UNESCO as practices, expressions, knowledge, skills that communities, groups and in some cases individuals recognize as part of their cultural heritage” . Tangible cultural heritage is often also referred to as cultural property. Cultural property is movable or immovable property with importance to the cultural heritage of every people, for instance buildings and books.

Protecting cultural heritage involves a number of strategies including but not limited to:

  • Developing policies that promote protection of cultural heritage.

  • Improving training and education of both tourism businesses and guests they serve.

  • Support for UNESCO World Heritage programs.

  • Legal protections.

  • Developing political support for cultural heritage protection.

  • Developing an ethic with military operations to protect cultural heritage sites

  • Environmental protection such as keeping air pollution from damaging heritage sites.

Sensitivity to cultural heritage can begin in the early development of tourist facilities.

A case in point is the Disney Alunai Resort in Hawaii. Some of the strategies developed by Disney to preserve cultural heritage for this resort include but are not limited to:

  • Disney Imagineers working with locals in initial design to celebrate Hawaiian culture and history.

  • Resort architecture honors fundamental concern between nature and humanity that Hawaiian culture has cherished.

  • Art work is chosen to honor the traditional images of the culture. Disney worked with the local artists to keep the integrity of the culture in tact with the art work in the resort.