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Tourism is one of the world's largest industries, generating more than $4 trillion per year and providing employment for nearly 250 million people worldwide. Global tourism is projected to expand four-fold from its 1996 levels by 2010. While all segments of the industry are expanding, nature-based tourism in areas with significant biodiversity is increasing more rapidly than the industry as a whole.

Large-scale tourism involves major infrastructure development, increased demands for water, energy and waste disposal and an influx of new people, ideas and cultures. This increased activity can lead to habitat conversion, pollution and resource degradation. However, when planned and managed effectively, the tourism industry can enhance their operations while acting as a catalyst for social development and biodiversity conservation. Perhaps more than any other sector, the tourism industry has a vested interest in protecting the natural and cultural resources of the areas upon which its business depends. These resources are often what attracts travelers to a destination in the first place. In a high biodiversity area, it is even more likely that tourists are seeking natural and cultural attractions.

The Center's Travel & Leisure program works with leading tourism companies to integrate conservation principles into their day-to-day operations and to influence the planning and management of key tourist destinations.

The Center's Travel & Leisure program, the Coral Reef Alliance (CORAL), the International Hotels Environment Initiative (IHEI) and the Tour Operators' Initiative for Sustainable Tourism Development (TOI) are bringing together marine recreation providers, major contractors of their services and other interested parties (including conservation and development organizations, local authorities, community groups and marine protected area managers) to develop a supply chain management tool to promote environmental and social good practices from marine recreation providers. Through this inclusive process, the initiative seeks to build consensus and provide a central reference on good environmental and social practice from marine recreation providers for the corporate community to use during purchaser-supplier business processes. The supply chain management tool is now posted for review- please visit

The Travel & Leisure program, in partnership with the Center for Applied Biodiversity Science at Conservation International (CABS), the Center for Environmental Research and Conservation (CERC), the Punta Cana Ecological Foundation and the Punta Cana Resort and Club hosted Making Biodiversity Work For Your Travel Business: Increasing Profitability While Protecting the Environment, a chief executives' meeting in the Dominican Republic (press release). For more information please visit:

The Travel & Leisure program is also pleased to announce the release the of two new publications:

A Practical Guide to Good Practice: Managing Environmental and Social Issues in the Accommodations Sector - created in collaboration with the Tour Operators' Initiative for Sustainable Tourism Development.

By James E. N. Sweeting and Amy Rosenfeld Sweeting, 2003. This user-friendly handbook provides an overview of ten key environmental and social issues that are critical to the long-term success of the accommodations sector. For each issue, we offer a brief summary, the business rationale for good practices, examples of what hotels around the world are doing, and resources for taking further action.

A Shifting Tide: Environmental Challenges and Cruise Industry Responses - An Interim Summary Report.

By James E. N. Sweeting and Scott L. Wayne, 2003. The cruise industry faces a number of key environmental challenges related to its activities and operations in the world's oceans, particularly in and around priority conservation areas. This interim summary report explores these environmental challenges and the cruise industry's response.


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