Driving Conservation Through Sustainable Tourism Enterprises: A Sectoral Business Condition Brief

To protect biodiversity, we need to create alternative economic opportunities for the people who depend on the world’s most biodiverse ecosystems. Biodiversity is the foundation of human well-being and prosperity. At the same time, human activities are its greatest threat. In particular, biodiversity hotspots like savannahs, forests and coral reefs are under pressure due to unsustainable tourism development and the livelihood needs of low-income communities.

Tourism offers concrete opportunities to include low-income communities in the value created by conservation efforts. Sustainable tourism offers green and inclusive growth opportunities for Southern and East Africa. Tourists increasingly come to Southern and East Africa for nature-based activities that rely on abundant wildlife and attractive terrestrial, coastal and marine environments. International and national policies recognise that sustainable tourism can generate livelihood opportunities for low-income populations while conserving nature at the same time. However, sustainability is often treated as an add-on to tourism development rather than its own priority.

Enterprises that successfully combine tourism with conservation solutions depend strongly on partnerships with low-income communities. Managing these partnerships is complex, as it often involves the coordination of multiple players. Therefore, NGOs and tourism associations are often required as intermediaries.

Read the below brief to discover how governments in Southern and East Africa can drive biodiversity conservation and advance sustainable tourism development by supporting enterprises and intermediaries.