Ecotourism and the Web of Life

In an effort to support conservation organisations to develop sustainable tourism, Kuoni and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) have embarked on a joint project to promote business skills for ecotourism organisations since 2011. Conservation organisations around the world see the potential of linking their conservation efforts to economic development via small-scale ecotourism businesses but have little knowledge of the tourism market. The focus of the project is to provide them with the business skills necessary to design successful ecotourism products and to support marketing initiatives.

By targeting community-based organisations and ecotourism businesses, the project has raised awareness on the need for effective and responsible tourism management near protected areas. The unchecked encroachment of mass tourism development on natural areas of high biodiversity should be minimised thereby.

The project has three aims:

  • To gain a deeper understanding of the market and natural contexts of the region by identifying conservation organizations active in tourism in the region
  • To build capacity by bringing together the conservation and business communities to build business skills and share experiences for successful ecotourism development via a workshop
  • To ensure continuity of the learning from the workshop by establishing a platform for exchanging experiences, for example, of marketing practices

Ecotourism Textbook

This book is designed to help conservation organisations, community-based organisations and protected area managers plan and run effective ecotourism businesses. The book is divided into six sections: Understanding your Market and Product, Developing a Sustainable Business Plan, Running Sustainable Operations, Marketing and Sales, Human Resources, and Health and Safety. While the principal intended audience of this book includes conservation organisations, community-based organisations and protected area managers planning and running ecotourism businesses around the world, it will also prove useful to anyone looking to develop an ecotourism business, by providing a foundation in business skills that can help a project become market viable and a more effective and successful tool for conservation. 

Capacity building workshops in Kenya and Laos

A first 5-day training workshop took place in June 2011 in Nairobi, Kenya which brought together 35 participants from approximately 20 organizations located in Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda. 

Eleven participants from five conservation organisations based in Kenya have subsequently submitted potential ecotourism products to Private Safaris, Kuoni’s local destination management subsidiary. Private Safaris hopes to integrate the ecotourism products into their offer in the near future.

The second capacity building workshop for conservation organisations, community-based organisations and protected area managers from Laos, Vietnam and Myanmar took place in Vientiane, Laos in June 2012. In addition, Kuoni and the IUCN co-organised a one day training session at the World Conservation Congress, held in Jeju (South Korea) in September 2012. The training was attended by 22 participants from 20 organisations.

Find more information about the project on the IUCN website.

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