Session 1: Tourism as a Conservation Tool?

Module 8: Session 1

Our first Session of Module 8 will kick us off framing the issue of tourism and conservation in the setting of snow leopard habitats. Raghu and Joanna have outlined some of these ideas in this downloadable note. If you have time please do read it before joining (if not after the session as a resource). This note may spark your ideas on questions to ask or thoughts to throw into the discussion. 

Session 1.1: Tourism as a conservation tool?

Session 1.2: Conservation tourism – economic driver for inclusive conservation

Session 1.3: Conservation Tourism Plenary Discussion

Highlights

  • Eco-tourism and conservation tourism are different although both can benefit conservation.  
  • Conservation tourism is a term used when tourism planning is centered around conservation goals. Conservation tourism entails tourism being an active participant in conservation whereas other forms of tourism are passive and reactive to existing conservation.
  • Important to maintain clarity over the terms so that later evaluations can be accurately assessed in a way that has not been possible with eco-tourism due to its conflation with other forms such as nature tourism, wildlife tourism, even adventure and outdoor tourism.
  • Conservation can be better when different conservation models run parallel and complementing existing ones
  • Beyond our Protected Areas conservation success can be achieve with active participation of communities
  • Economic incentives can help encourage active participation of communities in conservation
  • Tourism is growing industry and can be a nature friendly activity for ecologically sensitive areas and it can generate substantial economic benefits for communities
  • Tourism for conservation must be developed, guided, promoted within a conservation framework and bring economic well-being of the communities
  • Benefits from tourism must add to the existing livelihood and not replace the existing income sources
  • The development of tourism must ensure a tangible outcome of conservation to use it as an effective conservation tool.
  • Equitable distribution of incentives is key to the success in making tourism into conservation tourism. With small but equitable benefits bigger conservation goals can be achieved.
  • Greater individual benefits more divisive it is for the community to participation
  • Tourism benefits can be effectively used to generate snow leopard friendly perception and reduce conflict.

Session 2: Community Conservation & Tourism

Module 8: Session 2

In this 2nd session of Module 8 we move forward and specifically look at the ‘whys’ and ‘hows’ of engaging communities for conservation led tourism. We capture the positions of different stakeholders and how they can, or might not always, be aligned with benefits reaching the community as a whole.

Session 2.1: Why should local communities be central to conservation?

Session 2.2: Principles for community led conservation tourism in China

Session 2.3: A large scale context approach

Highlights

  • Why should local communities be central to the conservation of snow leopards?
  • What are the benefits and risks of involving local communities for conservation of snow leopard landscapes?
  • There maybe a tension between tourist experiences and community cohesion. For example tourists will want to stay at the best place for the best chance. They will also want to choose where they stay. Versus the community being empowered to regulate, and promote the equitable distribution of benefits.
  • How can effective community structures deal with tourism and manage the program?
  • There is a need for support of the local governments and other enforcement agencies
  • An integrated approach is crucial when looking at snow leopard tourism. While one community may be better suited to host guests, other nearby communities can be part of the wider service ecosystem. One can consider the distribution of benefits at the landscape level

Download the full highlight summary HERE.

Session 3: Risks and Opportunities

Module 8: Session 3

This 3rd session of Module 8 covers the “Risks” that tourism can pose across snow leopard landscapes, especially if not managed ethically. We then discuss the strategies we can use to ‘mitigate’ these risks and the roles that different stakeholders can play in mitigating this risks.
    

Session 3.1: Introduction to risks

Session 3.2: Discussion on potential risks

Session 3.3: Mitigate risks

Session 3.4: Approaches to mitigate risks

Highlights

  • What are the social, economic and ecological risks posed by conservation led tourism?
  • The major risks are all caused by a lack of planning, and a community responding haphazardly to a market driven demand for wildlife tourism.
  • MITIGATE THESE RISKS BY:
    • Assessing potential of snow leopard tourism at a regional level.
    • Developing a mechanism to address failure of systems and/or stakeholders.

Session 4: Shaping Relevant Framework(s)

Module 8: Session 4

The Module 8 journey so far has taken us to introducing Conservation Tourism concepts and the need to engage communities as a central pillar to the approach. In the last session we focussed on ecological, social and economic “risks” and ways to mitigate these.

This final session will take us towards broadening our discussions to learn from examples that are underway in Pakistan, Tajikistan and Mongolia. We hope these experiences help us see the above principles in action and perhaps bring up new themes and ideas. We will then conclude the session by synthesising key principles which we feel will be useful as teams start new programs or refine on-going approaches. 

Session 4.1: Introduction

Session 4.2: Example from Tajikistan

Session 4.3: Example from Mongolia

Session 4.4: Example from Pakistan

Session 4.5: Bringing the principles together

Session 4.6: Conservation Tourism Principles Recap

Session 4.7: Conservation Tourism Framework Approach

Session 4.8: Concluding thoughts

Highlights

  • “Tourism is like a fire. You can cook your food with it, but if it’s not managed, it can burn your house down.”
  • In areas without formal wildlife protection- tourism can be used to support local communities to set-up community based conservation programs. This can create ownership of land and increase investments in building capacity for conservation (i.e. Tajikistan)
  • Conservation led tourism may be challenged in areas of low human density and where communities structures are not in place (i.e. Mongolia). How can benefits be equitably distributed? How to address this challenge?
  • Local risk assessments is an essential part of the process and explore mitigation measures (i.e. Pakistan)
  • Key components of Conservation Tourism include: Inclusive conservation beyond the protected area; Community involvement; Economic benefits for the community; Equitable distribution, and the community has to making the decisions.
  • Why is conservation tourism important?
    • Creates conservation opportunities
    • Helps pay for ecosystem services
    • Can help preserve cultural heritage
    • Build community support for conservation
    • Way of empowering community and giving them ownership
    • Livelihoods linked to the well-being of snow leopard and it’s habitats
  • There are however enormous risks from tourism
    • Increase vulnerability
    • No equitable benefits can lead to conflicts
    • Malpractices if not managed
    • Visitors can have an ecologically heavy footprint
    • Destruction of natural and cultural environment
  • The Fundamentals include:
    • Destination led and not market driven
    • Benefits at a landscape level
    • Low-volume – high revenue
    • Local involvement and ethical practices
    • Unity of control
    • Integrated approach