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With an estimated US$ 3 trillion in annual revenues, tourism has emerged as one of the world's largest industries, contributing significantly to economies where Conservation International(CI) works. However, tourism in key biodiversity areas can be both an opportunity for conservation and a threat to biodiversity. CI believes carefully planned and implemented tourism can be a sustainable economic alternative as well as a successful conservation strategy. Ecotourism can provide income to local people and, by its reliance on healthy ecosystems, offer a powerful incentive to conserve and protect biodiversity.

The Ecotourism Department works with CI's regional programs and partners to utilize ecotourism as a conservation strategy in key biodiversity areas, translating these experiences to global industry initiatives. CI has found that people who earn their living from ecotourism are more likely to protect their natural resources and support conservation efforts.

CI's ecotourism projects help forge links between human welfare and the protection of biodiversity, placing CI at the forefront of conservation efforts in critical hotspots such as Madidi National Park in Bolivia, the Upper Guinean Forest in Ghana, the Maya Biosphere Reserve in the Petén Region in Guatemala and many others.

Resources and Links
CI Wide
Ecotour Web site: More about CI's Ecotourism Program
CELB Web site: Center for Environmental Leadership and Business' Travel and Leisure Program
Frontlines: "A Road Less Travelled: Successful small-scale projects have demonstrated ecotourism can work - now CI is raising the stakes"

On the Web
United Nations Environment Programme - Tourism Programme: www.uneptie.org/pc/tourism/
CI and UNEP's 2002 publication "Tourism and Biodiversity: Mapping Tourism's Global Footprint": www.uneptie.org/pc/tourism/library/mapping_tourism.htm
The International Ecotourism Society: www.ecotourism.org
National Geographic's Sustainable Tourism Resource Center: www.nationalgeographic.com/travel/sustainable/
Rainforest Alliance: www.rainforestalliance.org


© CI, Lani Asato
Zero leads a bushwalk at Gudigwa Camp near the Okavango Delta in Botswana.

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