Webinar recording: World Bank Global Wildlife Program: Nature-Based Tourism: Tools and Resources for Sustainable Development, 27 / 28 July

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Nature-based tourism (NBT) plays a significant role in sustainable development. Its potential to create jobs and growth while protecting wildlife and ecosystems makes it an enticing path for developing countriesseeking to align those interests. Yet, as the COVID-19 pandemic has illustrated, this sector on which many economies and communities rely can also be fragile and vulnerable to crisis. NBT practitioners and stakeholders are continuously developing and refining tools, guidelines, and practices and learning from previous efforts in order to strengthen the resilience of NBT and optimize its benefits. During this presentation, the Global Wildlife Program’s Nature-Based Tourism Community of Practice will launch a new report and e-book that synthesizes the tools and resources available to help NBT practitioners prepare and implement effective projects as well as start building back a resilient sector. Perspectives from NBT and community-based tourism enterprises in Indonesia, Australia, and elsewhere in Asia will be highlighted to show recovery efforts in action.

This virtual event is part of a monthly webinar series hosted by the Global Wildlife Program, a Global Environment Facility-funded program to combat illegal wildlife trade and support wildlife-based economies.


  • Garo Batmanian, Global Lead for Forests, Landscapes, and Biodiversity, ENB Global Practice, World Bank


  • Dr. Anna Spenceley, Author, Tools and Resources for Nature-Based Tourism
  • Steve Noakes, Chair, Pacific Asia Tourism & Binna Burra Lodge, Australia; Director, Ecolodges Indonesia


  • Paul Eshoo, Sustainable Tourism Advisor
  • Urvashi Narain, Lead Economist, ENB Global Practice, World Bank

Listen to the webinar recording here

Access the tools and resources e-book and launch presentation here


Chair Garo Batmanian, Global Lead for Forests, Landscapes, and Biodiversity, World Bank

Garo is the Global Lead for Forests, Landscapes, and Biodiversity at the World Bank, managing several global programs in those areas. Garo joined the World Bank in 2004 and worked in the Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) region as a Senior Environmental Specialist in Brazil. He was the World Bank’s Lead Environment Specialist for China and Mongolia, leading initiatives on air pollution, forests, biodiversity conservation, and climate change. Previously, he was the LAC Program Director of WWF-USA and the first CEO of WWF-Brazil. He holds a Ph.D. in Ecology from the University of Georgia, USA.

image016 Anna Spenceley, Author, Tools and Resources for Nature-Based Tourism

An international tourism expert, Anna is Chair of the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA) Tourism and Protected Areas Specialist Group (TAPAS Group) and sits on the board of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council and the Independent Advisory Panel of Travalyst. She is also on the editorial board of the Journal of Sustainable Tourism and the Journal of Ecotourism. Anna is the founder of STAND Ltd., a boutique consultancy company specializing in sustainable tourism development.

image018 Steve Noakes, Chair, Pacific Asia Tourism & Binna Burra Lodge, Australia; Director, Ecolodges Indonesia

Steve is founder of Pacific Asia Tourism, an international project management company focused on tourism’s capacity to contribute to the SDGs and the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism. He is also Director/part-owner of Ecolodges Indonesia & EcoSafari Indonesia, operating ecolodges and inbound tours with a wildlife and biodiversity conservation focus across Indonesia, and Chairperson of the Board of Binna Burra Mountain Lodge in Lamington National Park in Australia. Steve contributed to the development of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council and has served on the UNWTO Panel of Tourism Experts and the World Committee on Tourism Ethics.

image009 Paul Eshoo, Sustainable Tourism Advisor

Paul has more than two decades of experience developing community-based ecotourism programs in Asia, including the Nam Nern Night Safari in Nam Et-Phou Louey with WCS, which won the World Responsible Tourism Award for Best Responsible Wildlife Experience in 2013, and the UNESCO Nam Ha Ecotourism Project, which won the Equator Prize in 2006. He currently manages his own social business, the Living Irrawaddy Dolphin Project in Myanmar, and is helping to set up a new conservation startup business, Asian Arks. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Nepal and graduated from UC Berkeley in Political Economy of Natural Resources.

Urv Urvashi Narain, Lead Economist, ENB Global Practice, World Bank

Urvashi is a lead economist in the World Bank’s Environment, Natural Resources, and Blue Economy global practice, with over 20 years’ experience on issues at the intersection of environment and development policy.  Her areas of expertise span from air pollution management to watershed management to nature-based tourism. She led the 2016 World Bank publication, The Cost of Air Pollution: Strengthening the Economic Case for Action, that influenced World Bank operations in air quality management across multiple regions. Currently she leads the Air Pollution and COVID-19 initiative at the Bank and until recently, she led the Nature-Based Tourism Community. She has published widely in peer-reviewed journals including Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Environmental and Resource Economics, and Land Economics.

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Economic Benefits of Protecting 30% of Planet’s Land and Ocean Outweigh the Costs at Least 5-to-1

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First-of-its-kind report shows the global economy is better off with more nature protected

In the most comprehensive report to date on the economic implications of protecting nature, over 100 economists and scientists find that the global economy would benefit from the establishment of far more protected areas on land and at sea than exist today. The report considers various scenarios of protecting at least 30% of the world’s land and ocean to find that the benefits outweigh the costs by a ratio of at least 5-to-1. The report offers new evidence that the nature conservation sector drives economic growth, delivers key non-monetary benefits and is a net contributor to a resilient global economy.

The findings follow growing scientific evidence that at least 30% of the planet’s land and ocean must be protected to address the alarming collapse of the natural world, which now threatens up to one million species with extinction. With such clear economic and scientific data, momentum continues to build for a landmark global agreement that would include the 30% protection target. The United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity has included this 30% protected area goal in its draft 10-year strategy, which is expected to be finalized and approved by the Convention’s 196 parties next year in Kunming, China.

This new independent report, “Protecting 30% of the planet for nature: costs, benefits and economic implications,” is the first ever analysis of protected area impacts across multiple economic sectors, including agriculture, fisheries, and forestry in addition to the nature conservation sector. The report measures the financial impacts of protected areas on the global economy and non-monetary benefits like ecosystem services, including climate change mitigation, flood protection, clean water provision and soil conservation. Across all measures, the experts find that the benefits are greater when more nature is protected as opposed to maintaining the status quo.

Currently, roughly 15% of the world’s land and 7% of the ocean has some degree of protection. The report finds that the additional protections would lead to an average of $250 billion in increased economic output annually and an average of $350 billion in improved ecosystem services annually compared with the status quo.

The nature conservation sector has been one of the fastest growing sectors in recent years and, according to the report, is projected to grow 4-6% per year compared to less than 1% for agriculture, fisheries, and forestry, after the world recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. Protecting natural areas also provides significant mental and physical health benefits and reduces the risk of new zoonotic disease outbreaks such as COVID-19, a value that has not yet been quantified despite the extraordinarily high economic costs of the pandemic. A recent study estimated the economic value of protected areas based on the improved mental health of visitors to be $6 trillion annually.

“Our report shows that protection in today’s economy brings in more revenue than the alternatives and likely adds revenue to agriculture and forestry, while helping prevent climate change, water crises, biodiversity loss and disease. Increasing nature protection is sound policy for governments juggling multiple interests. You cannot put a price tag on nature — but the economic numbers point to its protection,” said Anthony Waldron, the lead author of the report and researcher focused on conservation finance, global species loss and sustainable agriculture.

The report’s authors find that obtaining the substantial benefits of protecting 30% of the planet’s land and ocean, requires an average annual investment of roughly $140 billion by 2030. The world currently invests just over $24 billion per year in protected areas.

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“This investment pales in comparison to the economic benefits that additional protected areas would deliver and to the far larger financial support currently given to other sectors,” said Enric Sala, co-author of this report, explorer-in-residence at the National Geographic Society and the author of the forthcoming book The Nature of Nature: Why We Need the Wild (August 2020). “Investing to protect nature would represent less than one-third of the amount that governments spend on subsidies to activities that destroy nature. It would represent 0.16% of global GDP and require less investment than the world spends on video games every year.”

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The Campaign for Nature (CFN), which commissioned this report, is working with a growing coalition of over 100 conservation organizations, and scientists around the world in support of the 30%+ target, and increased financial support for conservation. CFN is also working with Indigenous leaders to ensure full respect for Indigenous rights and free, prior, and informed consent. CFN recommends that funding comes from all sources, including official development assistance, governments’ domestic budgets, climate financing directed to nature-based solutions, philanthropies, corporations, and new sources of revenue or savings through regulatory and subsidy changes. As 70-90% of the cost would be focused on low and middle income countries because of the location of the world’s most threatened biodiversity, these countries will require financial assistance from multiple sources.

Source: Campaign for Nature press release in English, Spanish, and French

Citation: Anthony Waldron; Vanessa Adams; James Allan; Andy Arnell; Greg Asner; Scott Atkinson; Alessandro Baccini; Jonathan EM Baillie; Andrew Balmford; J Austin Beau; Luke Brander; Eduardo Brondizio; Aaron Bruner; Neil Burgess; K Burkart; Stuart Butchart; Rio Button; Roman Carrasco; William Cheung; Villy Christensen; Andy Clements; Marta Coll; Moreno di Marco; Marine Deguignet; Eric Dinerstein; Erle Ellis; Florian Eppink; Jamison Ervin; Anita Escobedo; John Fa; Alvaro Fernandes-Llamazares; Sanjiv Fernando; Shinichiro Fujimori; Beth Fulton; Stephen Garnett; James Gerber; David Gill; Trisha Gopalakrishna; Nathan Hahn; Ben Halpern; Tomoko Hasegawa; Petr Havlik; Vuokko Heikinheimo; Ryan Heneghan; Ella Henry; Florian Humpenoder; Harry Jonas; Kendall Jones; Lucas Joppa; A.R. Joshi; Martin Jung; Naomi Kingston; Carissa Klein; Tamas Krisztin; Vicky Lam; David Leclere; Peter Lindsey; Harvey Locke; TE Lovejoy; Philip Madgwick; Yadvinder Malhi; Pernilla Malmer; Martine Maron; Juan Mayorga; Hans van Meijl; Dan Miller; Zsolt Molnar; Nathaniel Mueller; Nibedita Mukherjee; Robin Naidoo; Katia Nakamura; Prakash Nepal; RF Noss; Beth O’Leary; D Olson; Juliano Palcios Abrantes; Midori Paxton; Alexander Popp; Hugh Possingham; Jeff Prestemon; April Reside; Catherine Robinson; John Robinson; Enric Sala; Kim Scherrer; Mark Spalding; Anna Spenceley; Jeroen Steenbeck; Elke Stehfest; Bernardo Strassborg; Rashid Sumaila; Kirsty Swinnerton; Jocelyne Sze; Derek Tittensor; Tuuli Toivonen; Alejandra Toledo; Pablo Negret Torres; Willem-Jan Van Zeist; James Vause; Oscar Venter; Thais Vilela; Piero Visconti; Carly Vynne; Reg Watson; James Watson; Eric Wikramanayake; Brooke Williams; Brendan Wintle; Stephen Woodley; Wenchao Wu; Kerstin Zander; Yuchen Zhang; YP Zhang (2020) Protecting 30% of the planet for Nature: costs, benefits and economic implications, Campaign for Nature

Visitation to protected areas in light of COVID-19: Input requested


New guidance is being developed on behalf of the EU to help protected area authorities and park managers operate tourism safely in the wake of COVID-19.

The objectives of the guidance is to ensure that it:

  • Is based on sound data and advice from reputable sources
  • Provides clear linkages to national policies and directives
  • Highlights the importance of tourism in protected areas for visitors (e.g. Healthy Parks, Healthy People), for conservation and for local livelihoods
  • Provides guidance on safe visitation: information, infrastructure and practices
  • Includes examples of good practices
  • Shares links to further information and resources

If you are working on these issues – either from a tourism, protected areas or public health perspective –  and can assist with examples or resources – please get in touch.

Contact details: Dr Anna Spenceley – annaspenceley@gmail.com

Some current guidance for the operation of tourism in the wake of COVID-19:

For +700 resources already collected on this topic, please see my post of COVID 19 and sustainable tourism: Information resources, and links under ‘Ideas to help resilience and recovery.’

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Future of Tourism: Guiding principles & signing up

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Spenceley Tourism And Development (STAND) is proud to be a signatory to the Future of Tourism‘s guiding principles.  I encourage others to commit to these too, particularly as we work to recover from COVID-19.


Guiding Principles

Whereas tourism done well can benefit destination communities, incentivize protection of nature and history, and enrich the traveling public,

Whereas irresponsible practices have eroded the value of the true tourism product, the destination,

Whereas poorly managed tourism, driven by short-term, unguided market forces, has disrupted communities and ecosystems, worn away cultural and historic sites, added to environmental stress, and degraded the travel experience itself,

Whereas this trend has been aggravated by undue policy emphasis on quantity of tourists over quality of experience and benefits to destination communities,

Whereas, widespread degradation has persisted despite earnest attempts to counteract the trend by many responsible parties,

Whereas recovery from the COVID-19 crisis has presented an opportunity to choose a more sustainable future,

We therefore urge worldwide commitment to these principles:






Source and links: Future of Tourism Guiding PrinciplesWho has signed –   Become a signatory


Webinar recording: Building a resilient tourism sector in SADC Transfrontier Conservation Areas, 18 August 2020

SADC TFCA Webinar Week 7 Small

Webinar recording on YouTube – here 

Presentation by Anna Spenceley via Slideshare – here

All presentations, via the SADC TFCA Portal – here

COVID-19 and tourism in Africa’s protected areas: Impacts and recovery needs – WTO article

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  • COVID-19 has led to a steep decline in business for operators in protected areas, coupled with a substantial drop in future booking requests. The most important support tourism operators require is unemployment support for workers, financial support for recovery and cashflow, coupled with tax deductions or deferments.
  • Preliminary data suggests that there will be a 43% decline in expenditure on local products, services and donations this FY compared to last year, and if the crisis continues, three quarters of local employees will be affected with reduced wages/leave without pay/made redundant/unemployed (nearly 14,000 local employees for this sample).
  • Expenditure on environmental services (e.g. for security, anti-poaching, park or concession fees etc.) is predicted to decline by US$20.7 million in spending in the current FY for the sample. There are concerns that this will lead to an increase in illegal wildlife crime.

Read the full article on Trade For Development News by EIF here.

Also see the related EIF Trade for Development News webinar on tourism and COVID-19.

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COVID-19 Protected area tourism – Asia

In the framework of the study financed by the EU “Wildlife economy: sustainable tourism in protected areas”, we want to understand the impact of COVID-19 on wildlife tourism in protected areas, considering the impact on protected areas, businesses and local communities.  To do so, we have a short set of questions that will allow us to compare the period before the crisis with now, and estimates for the foreseeable future.

We also ask about what kind of support might help (relating to the local value chains, and during different phases; conservation; business operations, policy interventions etc.) and on what terms these might work.

The questionnaire should take 20-25 minutes to complete.

Kindly complete this form by 31 July 2020: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/COVID_Park_Tourism_Asia

The preliminary analysis for Africa can be found here.

Responses for Asia to date

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COVID-19 turismo en áreas protegidas -America Latina / COVID-19 Protected area tourism – Latin America

COVID-19 turismo en áreas protegidas – America Latina

La UE quiere entender el impacto del COVID-19 en el turismo natural en las áreas protegidas, considerando el impacto en las áreas protegidas, las empresas y las comunidades locales. Para ello, tenemos una breve serie de preguntas que nos permitirán comparar el período anterior a la crisis con el actual, y las estimaciones para el futuro previsible.

También nos preguntamos qué tipo de apoyo podría ayudar (en relación con las cadenas de valor locales, y durante las diferentes fases; conservación; operaciones comerciales, intervenciones de política, etc.) y en qué términos podría funcionar.

Responder al cuestionario debería llevarle entre 20 y 25 minutos.

Sus respuestas individuales serán confidenciales y los resultados se recopilarán para motivar las intervenciones políticas de la UE.

Por favor, rellene este formulario antes del 31 Julio 2020: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/COVID19_turismo_America_latina

El análisis preliminar para África se puede encontrar aquí.

Respuestas a la fecha de América Latina


COVID-19 Protected area tourism – Latin America

In the framework of the study financed by the EU “Wildlife economy: sustainable tourism in protected areas”, we want to understand the impact of COVID-19 on wildlife tourism in protected areas, considering the impact on protected areas, businesses and local communities.  To do so, we have a short set of questions that will allow us to compare the period before the crisis with now, and estimates for the foreseeable future.

We also ask about what kind of support might help (relating to the local value chains, and during different phases; conservation; business operations, policy interventions etc.) and on what terms these might work.

The questionnaire should take 20-25 minutes to complete.

Kindly complete this form by 31 July 2020: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/COVID-Park_Tourism_Latin_America

The preliminary analysis for Africa can be found here.

Responses to date from Latin America

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Webinar 3 July 2020: The Future of Tourism in Natural Areas: Impact, Governance, Financing

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A creative Lab for policy makers and practitioners at the time of Covid-19

The project is developed by the OECD Trento Centre for Local Development and tsm – Trentino School of Management, in collaboration with the OECD Tourism Committee


The Covid-19 pandemic has heavily affected tourism worldwide and it is expected to continue doing so over the coming months. In such a changing context, there is a widespread acknowledgement that tourism will never be the same in the Covid-19 aftermath. The effects of the pandemic will modify the way we move, the way we stay, and the way we experience destinations.

This massive change will not be linear and destinations around the world will face unprecedented challenges. Hence, the demand for new skills, new tools and new strategic approaches will increase. The recovery of tourism requires conceiving innovative ideas and views, considering all phases of the customer journey.

The recovery will require a long time and, now more than ever, there is the need of a transition toward a more sustainable tourism. The sustainability concept should be intended in a broader perspective, and the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development should be regarded as the reference guideline for such transformation. This will be particularly important when it comes to the future of tourism in natural areas as the protection of nature will be particularly important after the pandemic.Why a focus on natural areas, and why now? 

Based on various analyses of Covid-19 impacts on tourism, it is fair to assume that nature will be explored more in the post-Covid-19 era. Free spaces, remoteness, air purity, water freshness will gain more value in the eyes of travellers, and Protected Areas might expect a significant rise in the number of visitors, particularly by domestic tourists. This will have advantages but also side effects and will require more responsible management of negative impacts to find new solutions, to build a more sustainable tourism in Natural Areas, and to improve resilience to future shocks and instabilities. Transforming the crisis into an opportunity depends as well on the capacity of the policymakers and operators to gain a deep understanding of the situation and to shift toward new models and settings.

The theme of the Future of Tourism in Natural Areas project (Tour.Nat) is tourism management in natural and protected areas: how to design it, how to make it more balanced, how to reshape the experiences, how to govern and manage the visitors’ flows, how to minimise the negative impacts, how to manage the relationship with local communities, how to engage with nature stakeholders, and how to govern it for the benefit of the local people and the natural environment.

Goal & Topics

The project intends to build an agile living laboratory of practical seminars, individual research, working groups, creative sessions, interactive discussions, and online tutoring. Bearing in mind that no “one-size-fits-all” solutions for the current and post-Covid-19 challenges exist, the steering concept of Tour.Nat is to leverage on the case studies and on the participants’ first hand experiences. The ideas and actions of the post-pandemic tourism – that participants have been developing and are going to test during the summer – will be discussed, studied, analysedand compared to draw practical lessons and viable solutions for the forthcoming seasons.

In dealing with the twofold practice-oriented and policy-making challenge, Tour.Nat builds around three main topics: impacts, governance and financing.


The Project, capitalising on the 2019 OECD-tsm project on Tourism management for UNESCO designated sites in Natural Areas (T.UN.NA), is conceived on a full web-based peer-to-peer training and capacity-building concept and is built on 3 main components:

TourNat timeline
Participants profile

The international seminar (3 July 2020) is open to everyone interested in Tour.Nat topics.

The Community Lab (15 Oct – 26 Nov 2020) targets are:

  • Practitioners (local and regional Destination Management Organisations, tourism business operators, tourism agencies, experts, representatives of sectoral interest groups and associations, researchers);
  • Policy makers (local, regional and national authorities, national and regional agencies, international tourism sector organisations, tourism management institutions and bodies);
  • Parks and natural areas’ managing authorities and natural areas regulating institutions.

Screenshot Speakers OECD

Registration link: https://www.oecd.org/cfe/leed/tournat.htm

Source, and further information: OECD https://www.oecd.org/cfe/leed/tournat.htm