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.
For many children, going to school means sitting in a dull classroom, eyes glazed over, watching the clock until it’s time to go home. While this may be an everyday experience for some children, if you step inside a school in St. Kitts, you will quickly realize that this is not always the case. Primary schools in St. Kitts are a constant flurry of activity. Shouts and laughter can be heard filling the campuses as the children are overcome with the excitement and joy of learning. This enthusiasm is contagious, both inside the school walls and out.
Located in Chilean Patagonia, Torres del Paine National Park is considered by many as the 8th wonder of the world. This will come as no surprise to those adventurers who have been lucky enough to gaze upon the park’s jagged peaks and turquoise lakes.Of course, where natural beauty and adventure abound, people often do too. In the last four years alone, park visitation doubled, and in 2016 reached a historic record of 252,000. Unfortunately, Torres del Paine’s soaring popularity has also been accompanied by an increase in man-made forest fires. Since 1985, the park has lost one-fifth of its 242,000 hectares to fires, all of which were started by tourists. These fires devastated native Lenga tree forests and the habitats of already endangered species.