UNWTO Promotes Sustainable Tourism to Conserve Migratory Bird Flyways

(3BL Media/Justmeans) – The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has launched an innovative project that aims to develop sustainable tourism at destinations along the world’s major migratory bird routes. The organization will bring the project into spotlight on the World Migratory Bird Day 2014 – celebrated in more than 70 countries on 10-11 May.

The project focuses on the role sustainable tourism can perform in conserving the spectacular movements of migratory birds along their flyways. The World Migratory Bird Day will be commemorated under the theme “Destination Flyways – Migratory Birds and Tourism.” The project will aim at promotion of sustainable tourism in eight chosen sites for migratory birds in Asia, Africa and Europe. The goal is to create a vehicle for both environmental and socio-economic sustainability, benefiting wildlife, local communities and tourists alike.

The project will involve the conservation of the chosen sites and the communities around them. This will be done through the development of an adequate framework for sustainable tourism management, diversifying tourism, and deploying its revenue back into the conservation efforts. Destination Flyways will work to protect the natural habitats of the birds, while generating job opportunities for local communities along the flyways.

The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said at the UNWTO General Assembly that tourism is an undisputed creator of national wealth, corporate income and local employment – as long as it is managed sustainably. The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) has identified tourism as one of the 10 economic sectors in the best position to contribute to the transition to a sustainable and inclusive green economy.

The important initiative to conserve migratory bird flyways through sustainable tourism will help to accelerate the transition to the green economy while protecting tourism, which is a key source of revenue for many communities. UNWTO said that tourism has a major responsibility in advancing biodiversity protection. Without an enriching experience of biodiversity, tourism could not be the vehicle for sustainable growth that it is today.

Events to commemorate the World Migratory Bird Day 2014 will include bird festivals, education programs, bird watching trips, presentations, film screenings, the launch of an international photography competition and a benefit concert to raise funds for global nature conservation.

Source: UNEP

Image Credit: Flickr via USACE HQ