Tourism and the Convention

Ramsar activities and resources about sustainable, responsible wetland tourism include:

World Wetlands Day 2012: “Wetland Tourism: A Great Experience”

The Ramsar Convention launched its focus on tourism and wetlands on 2 February 2012, World Wetlands Day, with the slogan "Wetlands and Tourism, a Great Experience", in partnership with the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), based on UNWTO’s definition of sustainable tourism:

"Tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment and host communities". Sustainable tourism development guidelines and management practices are applicable to all forms of tourism in all types of destinations, including mass tourism and the various niche tourism segments. Sustainability principles refer to the environmental, economic, and socio-cultural aspects of tourism development, and a suitable balance must be established between these three dimensions to guarantee its long-term sustainability.
(UNWTO definition, read more here

Tourism and Wetlands at COP11

Kenya, Lake Nakuru, Flamingos
(©Amos Rono, KWS)

In July 2012, the Convention formally addressed tourism as one of the many ‘ecosystem services’ that wetlands deliver at the 11th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP11) in Bucharest, Romania.  The Conference  identified what countries need to do at national and local levels to ensure that wetland tourism is sustainable, consistent with the Convention’s ‘wise use’ principle, which will hopefully result in the adoption of a Resolution on Tourism and Wetlands.  (See the Draft Resolution here).

The Ramsar Convention Secretariat, together with UNWTO worked on a publication that highlights the considerable value of wetlands for tourism and the economic benefits that tourism can bring for the management of wetland sites that was launched at COP11. Ramsar’s Secretary General, Anada Tiéga, the Secretary General of UNWTO, Taleb Rifai, and the Romanian Secretary of State for Regional Development and Tourism launched the publication on Tourism and Wetlands on 9 July in Bucharest. 

» Download the publication in English, French, and Spanish (PDF).

This publication contains references to existing guidelines on sustainable tourism as well as many other useful materials on developing and managing sustainable tourism.  It is relevant to wetland site managers, tourism and wetland policy-makers and planners, and the private sector (including those investing in, operating or developing tourism in wetlands).

Launch of 14 Case Studies on Tourism and Wetlands

For the publication above, 14 case studies on tourism in wetlands, 13 of which are Ramsar Sites, have been selected to cover different wetland types around the world and to examine the diversity in the scale of tourism, the management processes in place, the many challenges encountered and, wherever possible, the management solutions employed. The full texts of the case studies include considerable detail on the scale of tourism and how it is being managed. They can be viewed here.

Useful Materials

Additional guidelines, how-to materials, external publications, videos, web links and helpful documents for site managers, tourism operators, Administrative Authorities and NGOs are available here.

More Information

>> Tourism and Wetlands
Ramsar and UNWTO Publication
>> Tourism Case Studies
>> Useful Materials

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Number of » Contracting Parties: 168 Sites designated for the
» List of Wetlands of
International Importance
2,186 Total surface area of designated sites (hectares): 208,674,247

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