Tourism and Visitor Management in Protected Areas released by IUCN: English and Spanish versions

Guidelines to help protected area authorities establish sustainable tourism and visitation

The IUCN released a new publication titled Tourism and Visitor Management in Protected Areasat the Convention on Biological Diversity’s 14th Conference of the Parties, in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt on 27 November 2018.

Cover BPG2Protected area managers need a wide range of skills to manage the complexities of protected area systems. The IUCN Best Practice Guidelines Series aims to address these needs, including sharing experience drawn from good practices around the world. Many protected areas are managed for tourism and visitation as one component of achieving their purpose, involving a wide range of stakeholders, including the private sector. The rapidly expanding demand for tourism development associated with protected areas emphasises the need to provide clear guidance that will contribute towards sustainable tourism consistent with the primary conservation objectives of protected areas. The legal, political, economic and social contexts for tourism in and around protected areas vary widely across the globe, yet there are many common elements and a diversity of experiences that can enrich the understanding of those involved.

These guidelines are an initiative of the IUCN WCPA Tourism and Protected Areas Specialist (TAPAS) Group. One of several voluntary groups convened under IUCN WCPA, the TAPAS Group is a network of over 500 volunteers who are committed to promoting sustainable tourism in protected areas as a tool in achieving the long-term conservation of nature and associated ecosystem and cultural values. The TAPAS Group’s work includes disseminating knowledge, case studies and best practices on tourism and protected areas. This is the third edition on the subject of tourism in IUCN WCPA’s Best Practice Guidelines series, and builds on the foundations created by these guidelines published in 1992 (McNeely, et al., 1992) and in 2002 (Eagles, et al., 2002).

The guidelines are supported with an Online Resources Directory, which provides additional readings and invites sharing of new resources too.

Dr. Yu-Fai Leung, the Editor-in-Chief and member of the TAPAS Group’s ExCo, said: “This publication is a major milestone in building a global community of practice in protected area tourism. The diversity of best-practice examples, both geographically and topically, attest that innovative solutions for sustainable tourism and visitation in protected areas are achievable in all protected area systems regardless of their geography, governance types, and cultures. Sharing these cases through this publication and its associated online resource directory is essential if tourism is to fulfill its positive role in global conservation.”

Dr. Anna Spenceley, Chair of the TAPAS Group and co-editor of the publication said: “This guideline is the result of incredible effort by many highly committed and dedicated people, both within the TAPAS Group and beyond. The collaborative and iterative approach we adopted has generated meaningful and practical guidance for practitioners working sustainable tourism in protected areas across the world. We are immensely proud of this achievement, and incredibly grateful to all the contributors who participated in our journey, including numerous authors, reviewers, designers and editors.”

Dr. Glen Hvenegaard, co-editor of the publication and past Chair of the TAPAS Group’s Knowledge Development Working Group, added: “This publication will help develop a worldwide community of practice that develops, tests, shares, and challenges tourism practices in protected areas to support conservation goals.”

The production of these Guidelines was sponsored by the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas (IUCN WCPA), the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) on behalf the Federal German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), and the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development. Their generous contributions supported the development of this document in English, as well as its translation into French, German, and Spanish.

Available online:


Online database of sustainable tourism guidelines and resources: https:/

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IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA)
The WCPA is the world’s premier network of protected
area expertise. It is supported by IUCN’s Programme on Protected Areas and has over 1,400 members, spanning 140 countries. IUCN WCPA works: by helping governments and others plan protected areas and integrate them into all sectors; by providing strategic advice to policy makers; by strengthening capacity and investment in protected areas; and by convening the diverse constituency of protected area stakeholders to address challenging issues. For more than 50 years, IUCN and WCPA have been at the forefront of global action on protected areas.

IUCN WCPA Tourism and Protected Areas Specialist Group
The IUCN WCPA Tourism and Protected Areas Specialist (TAPAS) Group is a voluntary network of over 500 people. The mission of the TAPAS Group is to provide a platform for protected area practitioners and others, where expertise and knowledge is shared, sustainability awareness is enhanced, collaboration and dialogue is facilitated, leadership is developed, and innovative solutions are fostered, in order to support the oversight of sustainable tourism in protected area systems.

WCPA Best Practice Protected Area Guideline Series
IUCN-WCPA’s Best Practice Protected Area Guidelines are the world’s authoritative resource for protected area managers. Involving collaboration among specialist practitioners dedicated to supporting better implementation in the field, they distil learning and advice drawn from across IUCN. Applied in the field, they are building institutional and individual capacity to manage protected area systems effectively, equitably and sustainably, and to cope with the myriad of challenges faced in practice. They also assist national governments, protected area agencies, nongovernmental organisations, communities and private sector partners to meet their commitments and goals, and especially the Convention on Biological Diversity’s Programme of Work on Protected Areas.

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