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

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.

For Earth Month United Airlines is Supporting the Restoration of the Mississippi River Valley through Carbon Offsets

The rich, alluvial soils of the Mississippi River Valley have made it the country’s most fertile agricultural region. While the valley was covered in 25 million acres of forestland until World War II — providing a habitat for cougars, black bear, bison, red fox and of course, waterfowl — industrial farming has led to widespread deforestation and today the forestland has dwindled to just five million acres.