Tourists to the rescue?

2017’s Year of Sustainable Tourism begins paying off as African tourism administrations undersign the Declaration of Kinshasa on fostering tourism as a driver of biodiversity and environmental protection.

A week-long wildlife and biodiversity protection conference in Kinshasa, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, culminated in the signing of the Declaration of Kinshasa by tourism representatives of the five participating African countries.

The initiative lies under the framework of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Chimelong Programme on Wildlife and Sustainable Tourism and was borne out of the experiences of itinerary workshops conducted throughout 2017 as part of the UN International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development. In these workshops, local communities and tourism stakeholders were encouraged to act as champions of biodiversity conservation and environmental protection, and over 100 individuals were equipped with skills to design and implement local champion initiatives in their respective countries. These same individuals were then invited to showcase and exchange their experiences at the conference.

The Declaration calls for the governments of Niger, Gabon, Benin, Guinea and Democratic Republic of the Congo to commit to “reinforce the role of Sustainable Tourism as a lever for local development and support for the conservation and preservation of the environment” and “to become involved in strengthening the conservation of biodiversity, raise awareness and fight against various forms of over-exploitation of resources including poaching and reduce the carbon footprint of tourism-related activities.”

Photo: iStock.com/Tiago_Fernandez

Jonathan Fraenkel-Eidse
jonathan.eidse@norragency.com