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Why nature conservation is important for tourism

July 27, 2021

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Sujaan Punja


“Cherish the natural world, because you’re a part of it and you depend on it.” — Sir David Attenborough

Sir David Attenborough’s words ring true not only for us as individuals but also for all of us in the hospitality and tourism sector.

For many travel and tourism destinations, the natural world is what entices people to visit. The importance of looking after this natural beauty that surrounds us and our businesses is therefore imperative if we want to continue attracting guests and sharing experiences. The world has seen an overwhelming 60% decline in the size of populations of mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, and amphibians in just over 40 years, according to WWF’s Living Planet Report 2018.

Wilderness conservation originates from the creation of the first national parks in North America in the nineteenth century. The first conservation and wilderness areas and the legal acts that regulated them provided a model on how to organize and manage conservation areas globally. However, this created a ‘fortress’ model of global conservation thinking, separating wilderness and nature from culture and people. This concept is now being increasingly challenged by views calling for more people-centred approaches in natural resource management.

Growing up in Kenya I have seen conservation in practise everywhere – the natural beauty of Kenya is what attracts tourism. In recent years I have noticed a significant increase in conservation taking the people-centric approach, combining the conservation of nature in conjunction with cultural heritage. In Kenya many of the camps in the Maasai Mara National Reserve use this approach to support and conserve local tribes, their culture and rituals. This highlights to guests how important it is to know and learn about how the local people live and have survived for years in the terrain.

The tourism and hospitality industries have also become an ever-important socioeconomic part of change in the natural areas, which has created new kinds of consumption needs for the environment. The need to protect the natural areas which surround our tourism businesses is greater due to the additional activity our businesses create.

Tropical reefs and beaches attract hordes of tourists from more temperate zones. As well as being tourism hotspots, these environments may be the most valuable resource of small island nations, providing fish and coastal protection.

According to the Convention of Biological Diversity, coral reefs provide food, storm protection, tourism and other benefits, yet 70% of coral reefs are threatened or destroyed and 35% of mangroves (nurseries to marine life) have been lost in just 20 years.

Considerate clients Mustique have created a program for conserving their remaining mangroves and re-planting those that have been lost. They also work on conserving and re-plenishing their coral reefs to encourage biodiversification and to attract wildlife back to the area.

No matter the location of your property, there will always be a way you can support nature conservation, whether directly or indirectly. Contact us at for more information on how we can help your business conserve your local wilderness areas as part of a comprehensive sustainability strategy.