Tourism, when properly planned and managed, can contribute to effective conservation and to the economy by directly capitalizing on biodiversity assets and by indirectly reducing the vulnerability of the poor to environmental degradation. CI supports national and local governments in formulating and establishing policy frameworks that guide development of the tourism sector, government institutional arrangements, and laws affecting tourism.
IN DEPTH: Learn more about CI's work to engage government in conservation action.
CI supports tourism planning at national and destination levels through making assessments and analysis, proposing objectives and strategies, providing guidelines, and mobilizing resources. Those plans must consider the various components of tourism development: markets, management of the natural attractions, and creation of local economic benefits.
Park entrance fees and payments from concessionaires and tourists can fund park ranger salaries, as well as vehicles and other equipment to enable monitoring of protected areas. Governments can also set aside revenues from tourism business taxes or airport taxes for managing protected areas, and they can charge visitors special use fees.
IN THE FIELD: Hear park rangers in Guyana tell their stories in this video.
The following projects highlight CI’s ecotourism policy and planning work in action:
Indonesian Ecotourism Network
The Indonesian Ecotourism Network (INDECON) was established in 1995 by the Institute for Indonesian Tourism Studies, in association with Bina Swadaya tours and CI. This nonprofit organization publishes a newsletter on Indonesian ecotourism issues and hosts seminars that are attended by a variety of local NGOs, the Indonesian Government, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and in-county tour operators. CI’s ecotourism program acts as a special advisor to INDECON in its efforts to support Indonesian ecotourism projects and to train guides, tour operators, and developers of ecotourism products.
From 1997 to 1999, CI facilitated a series of Ecotourism Participatory Planning Workshops in Petén, Guatemala, with representatives of the government, private sector, communities, and local institutions. From this process, Alianza Verde (Green Alliance) was formed. Alianza Verde’s goal is to create responsible tourism in the Maya Biosphere Reserve. It has three programs: a Green Deal Certification scheme provides a seal to recognize compliance with standards of social and environmental sustainability in tourism; marketing investments promote Petén as a destination; and training courses build the capacity of local businesses to provide high-quality services to tourists.
The Gabon Ecotourism project is helping to consolidate a network of 13 newly created protected areas in Gabon that protect the most intact, pristine, and biologically rich tropical forests and coastal zones in Central Africa. In partnership with the World Wildlife Fund for Nature and the Wildlife Conservation Society, CI is strengthening management of the entire Gabon National Park system. CI is giving technical advice to the Gabon National Park Authority in defining institutional regulations, policies, and resources needed to influence and guide ecotourism development and implementation at the national park level.
LEARN MORE: Developing ecotourism at Conservation International.