As the COVID-19 virus continues to affect our everyday lives, many sectors in society are under large amounts of pressure. Many organisations within the field of nature conservation are facing the challenges to continue investing efforts for a healthy planet. For example, some of the world’s largest organisations like the World Health Organisation (WHO) and United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) are now cooperating closely to mitigate the negative impacts. Also the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is working together with its thousands of volunteer experts to assess and understand the underlying drivers and impact of this crises.
Please also read: What does tourism do for wildlife conservation?
Addressing tourism operators in protected areas
The Tourism and Protected Areas Specialist Group of the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas is implementing an EU-financed study on ‘wildlife economy’. The study addresses sustainable tourism in protected areas. One of the topics is to gain understanding of the impact of COVID-19 on wildlife tourism in protected areas. It includes the impact on protected areas itself, as well as businesses and local communities.
Therefore, the Specialist Group is inviting people offering accommodation, tours, services and activities to visitors in protected areas to participate in a questionnaire. With a set of 40 questions, the Specialist Group aims to compare the current situation with before, in order to estimate the foreseeable future.
In Africa for example, the impact is already clear. As wildlife tourism evaporated, protected area staff and rangers are rapidly running out of funds to continue their work. With less people in the field, poaching numbers start to rise, states National Geographic.
So, if you are a tourism operator in protected areas, please click on the link below. Please fill out the questionnaire by Friday 24 April 2020.