CI and GW publish new manual on creating ecotourism destinations

Determining if a destination is suitable for sustainable ecotourism is not an easy task. However, a new publication produced by Conservation International (CI) and The George Washington University (GW) provides field practitioners with tools to perform rapid assessments and analysis of potential ecotourism destinations.

Titled "Linking Communities, Tourism and ConservationA Tourism Assessment Process," the new manual offers practitioners with a practical guide for planning ecotourism sites that safeguard a destination's cultural heritage, enhance its natural environment, and improve the welfare of the local population. The manual provides a detailed planning framework and easy-to-use processes for:

  • Conducting an inventory of attractions;
  • Analyzing market demand and competitiveness; and,
  • Investigating associated socio-cultural and natural resource issues.

"The goal of this new manual is to help determine whether a destination is suitable or unsuitable for sustainable tourism," said Eileen Gutierrez, ecotourism advisor at CI. "In addition, the publication shows how ecotourism can work to benefit conservation and help provide opportunities for local communities."

Containing criteria and principles on how to properly build sustainable and ecotourism developments, the hands-on manual also is a tool for those engaged in applying tourism as a strategy for biodiversity conservation and poverty reduction.

Within the manual are sample worksheets that help practitioners create interview questions, surveys, matrixes, and recommendations that focus on such subjects as involving local stakeholders, attractions inventory, infrastructure and services, market demand analysis, supply and competitiveness, human and institutional capacity, socio-economic, cultural and natural resource use considerations, environmental and biodiversity footprint, and cost benefit analysis.

"This manual was created

Contact: Julian Teixeira
Conservation International

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