Guest Contribution by Dr. Robert Brumbaugh, Director of Ocean Planning and Protection, The Nature Conservancy
Tourism is one of the world’s largest industries, contributing trillions of dollars to the global economy and supporting the livelihoods of an estimated one in ten people worldwide. Much of that tourism depends on the natural world—on beautiful landscapes and seascapes that visitors flock to in search of escape, a second wind, and a direct connection with nature itself. Coastal and marine tourism represents a significant share of the industry and is an important component of the growing, sustainable Blue Economy, supporting more than 6.5 million jobs—second only to industrial fishing. With anticipated global growth rates of more than 3.5%, coastal and marine tourism is projected to be the largest value-adding segment of the ocean economy by 2030, at 26%.
Most of us have seen the photos and videos filling up our news feeds, but for countless people across the Caribbean, the devastation from Hurricane Irma is not just something they’ve seen from afar. It hit home and it hit home hard. People watched as their houses, schools, and hospitals were reduced to rubble and their homeland transformed into a landscape of uprooted trees and debris. Too many families lost nearly everything and have been forced to leave their lives behind, not knowing when they will be able to return.
From protecting the nesting habitats of endangered sea turtles to preserving cherished cultural heritage sites, travel philanthropy funds such as the Heart of St. Kitts Foundation have the power to create real, tangible impact at the local level. But this progress doesn’t just happen on its own or because of the isolated efforts of a few people. The potential of travel philanthropy funds to make a difference instead relies on the support and participation of the local community as a whole. It doesn’t matter whether a person is a hotel owner, tour guide, environmental specialist, government official, school student, or artist – each and every destination resident can play a role in growing this collective impact.
We’re thrilled to share that Sustainable Travel International is a proud partner of the VERGE Hawaii: Asia Pacific Clean Energy Summit, hosted by GreenBiz and coming up from June 20-22 in Honolulu. We invite you to join us for this groundbreaking conference which will bring together more than 800 leaders from government, military, utilities, global corporations, energy producers and other solution providers to accelerate the sustainable, clean energy future in Hawaii and worldwide.
The Sustainable Travel International team recently visited Aruba to present the results of the rapid destination diagnostic and meet with local stakeholders to map out a more sustainable future for the tourism industry
By Issa Torres, Director of Global Programs | Header image by David Kirsch / flickr
By joining our 10 Million Better campaign, you will be helping to chart the course for a new direction in the travel and tourism industry, one that leads to clean beaches, forests and parks; that fosters local economic development and that results in the protection and longevity of cultural traditions and architectural treasures.