Today during the 2014 Adventure Travel World Summit (ATWS) in Killarney, Ireland, the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) signed a Memorandum of Understanding outlining their collaborative strategy to advance conservation of the planet’s most precious wildlife, landscapes and seascapes – resources upon which the travel industry itself depends.
Over the last two years the ATTA and WWF have worked to understand and highlight the interdependence of the travel industry and the conservation of the natural world that is the destination of the adventure traveler. This interdependence is embodied in their joint Conservation Travel initiative.
Conservation Travel is sustainable tourism that connects the traveler with nature and supports its protection by ensuring benefits from tourism investment flow to the local stewards of wildlife and wildlands. WWF has pursued Conservation Travel as a key strategy in its mission to build a future where people live in harmony with nature, and ATTA has embraced this concept as something vital to the future of the industry.
Conservation Travel has three goals:
- Impact. Encourage nature conservation by ensuring economic and cultural benefits flow to communities and stakeholders in whose hands the future of nature rests,
- Influence. Engage the traveler in conservation issues before, during, and after their travel, and
- Investment. Drive greater traveler and industry philanthropy toward conservation investments that sustain priority land and seascapes.
Over the next several years, ATTA and WWF have committed to advancing these three principles and supporting industry members along the travel supply chain to impact, influence, and invest in conservation. Through activities such as developing case studies for tour operators that illustrate how they can further their conservation impact; providing education materials that help operators engage travelers in conservation, by featuring conservation content during ATTA events; and by exploring industry models that could help fund conservation efforts, this innovative ATTA-WWF partnership will help enhance the industry’s ability to conserve the very destinations upon which the business relies.
The impact of Conservation Travel approaches was seen clearly in Namibia, Africa – the location of the 2013 Adventure Travel World Summit. ATTA President Mr. Shannon Stowell stated, “Namibia’s innovative communal conservancy model and its visionary engagement with our industry demonstrated the power of Adventure Travel to make a difference for people, for the planet’s last great places, and for the future of life on Earth. It has inspired us all to think about how our collective effort can make conservation investment just good business.”
During the 2014 ATWS, the opening plenary on Conservation Travel allowed WWF and ATTA to frame the concept’s vision and the economic benefits it brings to the industry and to nature. Buoyed by examples of innovative approaches to Conservation Travel from Volcano Safaris’ Praveen Moman and TOFTigers’s Julian Matthews, the conference demonstrated how Adventure Travel can make positive economic waves for local communities and whole nations, benefit business bottom lines, and make wildlife and wildlands a competitive land use.
James Sano, WWF’s Vice President of Travel, Tourism and Conservation, emphasized that “if done right, Adventure Travel can influence travel enthusiasts to become lifelong conservation enthusiasts, and incentivize local communities to conserve nature – making wildlife worth more alive than dead.”
ATTA’s Shannon Stowell and WWF’s James Sano asserted that embracing conservation travel practices was the future of the industry, and would help determine the future of many of the world’s lands, waters, and wildlife.
Industry professionals interested in Conservation Travel are encouraged to contact the ATTA for more information ([email protected]) on how they can get involved in the Conservation Travel initiative and be at the vanguard of this exciting effort.
WWF is the world’s leading conservation organization, working in 100 countries for over half a century. With the support of more than 5 million members worldwide, WWF is dedicated to delivering science-based solutions to preserve the diversity and abundance of life on Earth, halt the degradation of the environment and combat climate change. Visithttps://www.worldwildlife.org/ to learn more and keep up with the latest conservation news by [email protected] on Twitter or like us on Facebook atWWF.
About the Adventure Travel Trade Association
Established in 1990, the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) serves over 1,000 members in 90 countries worldwide. Members predominantly include tour operators, tourism boards, specialty agents and accommodations with a vested interest in the sustainable development of adventure tourism. The ATTA delivers solutions and connections that propel members towards their business goals and the industry toward a responsible and profitable future. Through its regional AdventureConnect events and annual Adventure Travel World Summit trade conference, the ATTA excels in professional learning, networking and partnering services. With expertise in research, education, adventure travel industry news and promotion, members of the ATTA receive competitive opportunities that help establish them as leaders in adventure tourism.
Photo: WWF's Jim Sano and ATTA's Jason Reckers sign MOU © Lukasz Warzecha