STORIES OF THE PEOPLE, PLACES & PARTNERS THAT MAKE TRAVEL AND TOURISM TICK

Travelers Fund Willamette River Clean-up

“If you do any simple research, you will discover and be relieved to know that the Willamette River is safe to swim in,” notes Willie Levenson, ringleader of the Human Access Project, a Portland Oregon-based group committed to cleaning up and changing the reputation of the city’s primary body of water. For decades, the Willamette—like many rivers that flow through US cities—was a stew of industrial waste and sewage. No longer. According to the state’s Department of Environmental Quality, the Willamette is safe for human recreation.

Crete: Community and Conservation Through Tourism

On the southern coast of Crete, accessible only by boat or a seven-hour hike through the Samaria Gorge, sits the tiny village of Agia Roumeli. During the tourist season, May through October, 100 people live in the village.  But during the winter months, the population shrinks to 20 and everyone depends on visitors for their sole source of income, which leaves them vulnerable to tourism’s inherent vagaries.

World Oceans Day: Healthy Oceans, Healthy Planet

Whiskered, blubbery and descended from elephants, dugongs—or sea cows as they’re commonly known—are said to have lured fishermen lost at sea. The sea mammals that gave rise to creation and other stories are at risk, just like other migratory marine mammals including sperm whales, green turtles, coconut crabs that inhabit the waters of the Pacific. The very survival of these species—threatened by rising and warming seas, extreme weather events, overfishing and the ingestion of plastics—requires a regional conservation approach. Not only is it the best hope for marine life but for the people of the Pacific Island nations that are also heavily dependent on tourism as a source of income.

Utila – Managing Its Tourism Challenges

  • Utila Harbor
    Just 11 miles long and two miles wide, Utila is the smallest of Honduras’ Caribbean Bay Islands.
  • Utila Swimmer
    Because the world’s second longest reef runs along Utila, it’s a major destination for scuba divers.
  • Utila Shark
    Whale sharks are protected in Honduras, and Utila is one of the few places that they can be seen year round.
  • Utila Street
    A former pirates’ refuge, Utila retains a small-town feel. But that’s threatened by the growth of tourism and plans for new resort hotels.
  • Utila Dive Map
    We are helping Utila and other members of the Sustainable Destinations Alliance of the Americas to manage challenges posed by tourism.
  • Utila Signs
    Recycling, rainwater catchment, a coastal erosion study and improved access to tourist attractions are Utila’s immediate priorities.

A New Drive for Tourism in Africa

In the Indian Ocean, about 20 miles off the coast off of mainland Zanzibar, sits Chumbe Island, a private nature reserve that was developed in 1991 for the conservation and sustainable management of the uninhabited slice of coral reef. Today, Chumbe features a fully protected marine sanctuary, a forest reserve inhabited by extremely rare and endangered animals, an eco-lodge and historical ruins. All reserve buildings are state-of-the-art and designed for zero environmental impact. And Chumbe’s park rangers—once local fishermen—are now trained, environmental educators who teach tourists and local communities about the importance of conservation.


The Destination is Green for Panama – Tourism for Everyone

For a country slightly smaller than the state of South Carolina, Panama boasts an impressive number of environmental firsts: Most diverse wildlife in Central America, largest rainforest in the Western Hemisphere (outside of the Amazon Basin) and with 933 bird species, one of the world’s best bird watching destinations. While devoted birders are among the 1.6 million tourists who flock to Panama each year, the country has never positioned itself as a green destination, the way Costa Rica and Belize have. Until now. On Earth Day 2015, President Juan Carlos Varela Rodriguez, Minister of Environment Mirei Endara, Minister of Tourism Jesús Sierra Victoria  and General Director of the National Institute of Culture Mariana Núñez announced The Green Tourism Initiative, designed to integrate the protection of biodiversity and culture with tourism.