Tourism and protected areas: Comparing the 2003 and 2014 IUCN World Parks Congress
by Anna Spenceley
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature World Parks Congress is held once a decade, and brings together thousands of the world’s experts on protected areas. In 2014, the Sydney World Parks Congress and the parallel event, Global Eco, provided a platform for 125 presentations relating to tourism and visitation. This paper presents a synthesis of the body of work shared at Sydney, including some of the cutting-edge issues, best practices, and inspiring initiatives relating to sustainable tourism. In particular, it compares issues that were highlighted at the 2003 World Parks Congress, and how they have evolved and progressed over the past decade. The paper highlights the role of different stakeholders from different corners of the world in promoting sustainable tourism practices. It also considers the relevance of tourism to the themes of the World Parks Congress, and how the sector is reflected within the official records of the 2003 and 2014 World Parks Congress. Looking forward to the next 10 years, the paper reflects on specific challenges, gaps in knowledge, and areas for further research and outreach.
Can a wildlife tourism company influence conservation and the development of tourism in a specific destination?
by Anna Spenceley and Susan Snyman
The evolution of tourism destinations is influenced by a range of factors including the policy and planning framework, the role of destination management organisations, and integration of tourism into the local and national economy. The aim of this paper is to describe how the private sector can influence destination development, by considering a luxury safari lodge (Mombo Camp) and its holding company (Okavango Wilderness Safaris) within the Okavango Delta of Botswana. Through a series of stakeholder interviews and literature review, the research found that Mombo had influenced the destination’s quality standards, how it is marketed and promoted, and also in the conservation of endangered species. Over the course of 30 years, the holding company has also been influential in the development and implementation of tourism and conservation policy, environmental awareness among youth, and also conservation research. The findings of this study suggest that destination planning authorities should encourage reputable private sector operators that have a long-term interest in the destination and promote sustainable tourism practices, including those that can mobilise a network of facilities and attractions, can collaborate with their competitors, and can support and advise government on policy and its implementation.