"The tourism industry today faces many challenges, including increasing competition, raising operational costs and increasing customer expectations," said Frank Rainieri, Founder and President, Punta Cana Resort and Club. "Business leaders who do not recognize that an aggressive environmental conservation program can help them address all of these obstacles will not be successful in this changing market."
Tourism is a particularly important industry in several of the global biodiversity hotspots, such as the Caribbean and the Mediterranean. Large-scale tourism involves major infrastructure development, increased demands for water, energy and waste disposal, and an influx of people, ideas, and cultures. The tourism industry has perhaps the strongest incentive to conserve biodiversity, as the future of its business depends on protecting the natural beauty and cultural richness of destinations.
One of the most geographically complex regions of the world, the Caribbean is a biodiversity hotspot. The Earth's 25 biodiversity hotspots combined make up just 1.4 percent of the planet's surface, yet harbor over 60 percent of all plant and animal diversity, and are under increasing threats. The Caribbean Basin has some of the greatest concentrations species found nowhere else on Earth. The Caribbean Sea is home to over 1,550 species of corals and fishes, a quarter of which can be found only in the Caribbean. The region's biodiversity and natural beauty attract millions of visitors a year.
The popularity of this destination, however, has not come without cost. Invasive species have led to the extinction of a number of native plants and animals; more than 60 percent of coral reefs in the region are under threats ranging from fishing and coral harvesting to wate
Contact: Jason W. Anderson