In September 2015 an Expert Workshop was held on the “Economic impacts of Tourism in Protected Areas” at the UNESCO Wadden Sea World Heritage Visitor Centre in Wilhelmshaven, Germany. The meeting was sponsored by the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN) with funds from the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB).
This workshop aimed to draw together experts from around the world to come together and exchange their experiences with current development trends concerning monitoring of nature-based tourism in protected areas. The workshop objectives were to:
- To explore the state of the art of visitation to parks and measurement of economic impacts in different national settings.
- To identify (minimal) requirements for a global monitoring standard.
- To explore how to best integrate possible standards in existing national monitoring practices.
- To find the ideal balance between comprehensive results and manageable methodology.
Several initiatives have emanated from this meeting already:
- A new Economics working group of the TAPAS Group has been established. (Applications for coordinator of this group are currently invited).
- A new special edition of the Journal of Sustainable Tourism is to be developed on “Making Protected Areas sustainable in a Neoliberal World: The role of tourism”, with guest editors Susanne Becken and Hubert Job.
- A new Best Practice Guideline on economic monitoring and assessment of tourism in protected areas is proposed, to be led by Niklas Scheder.
- An international workshop will be held at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in September 2016, led by Barbara Engels.
Photo source: Engels, Job, Scheder and Woltering, 2015