It is worth noting that tourism is one of the many services that wetlands deliver. Ensuring well-managed tourism practices in and around wetlands and educating tourists on the value of wetlands contributes to their health and the long-term benefits that wetlands provide to people, wildlife, economics, and biodiversity.
To date, the Ramsar Convention has not had a specific focus on wetlands, tourism and recreation.
For WWD 2012, we turn our attention to Wetlands and Tourism
World Wetlands Day 2012 will be the warm-up for the strong focus on tourism at COP11 – a chance for us to help all our WWD actors focus their attention on tourism in and around wetlands. WWD 2012 is an opportunity to use the campaign Wetlands and Tourism to look at the value of your local wetlands from the perspectives of tourists and local community members, and to examine the benefits of sustainable tourism on wetland ecosystems.
• How can tourists contribute to local economies, conservation goals, education and raise awareness about the benefits of wetlands?
• How can recreation encourage conservation?
• How can local NGOs partner with wetlands managers for best practices to maintain or increase biodiversity and ecosystem health?
• How many ways can wetlands managers and tourism planners integrate sustainable tourism and recreation into well-managed wetlands?
In preparing the WWD 2012 materials, we have worked with the United Nations World Tourism Organization, the leading international organization in the field of tourism. Tourism can play a very important role in conservation issues if environmental awareness and conservation messages are part of well-managed tourism activities. This is one reason why the formal agreement between Ramsar and UNWTO, the Memorandum of Cooperation, is important.