Ecotourism and the Web of Life

COLLABORATION WITH IUCN

Kuoni Group and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) embarked on a joint project to promote business skills for ecotourism organisations from 2011-2013. Conservation organisations around the world see the potential of linking their conservation efforts to economic development via small-scale ecotourism businesses but have little knowledge of the tourism market. The focus of the project was to provide them with the business skills necessary to design successful ecotourism products and to support marketing initiatives.

By targeting community-based organisations and ecotourism businesses, the project raised awareness on the need for effective and responsible tourism management near protected areas. The unchecked encroachment of mass tourism development on natural areas of high biodiversity should be minimised thereby.

Ecotourism Textbook

This book is designed to help conservation organisations, community-based organisations and protected area managers plan and run effective ecotourism businesses. The book is divided into six sections: Understanding your Market and Product, Developing a Sustainable Business Plan, Running Sustainable Operations, Marketing and Sales, Human Resources, and Health and Safety. While the principal intended audience of this book includes conservation organisations, community-based organisations and protected area managers planning and running ecotourism businesses around the world, it will also prove useful to anyone looking to develop an ecotourism business, by providing a foundation in business skills that can help a project become market viable and a more effective and successful tool for conservation. 

Capacity building in Sri Lanka, Laos, South Korea and Kenya

Training workshops on "Integrating Business Skills into Ecotourism Operations" held in Kenya (2011), Laos (2012), South Korea (2012) and Sri Lanka (2013) brought together a total of about 100 participants from over 50 local organisations operating in the respective countries, including conservation or community organisations, small ecotourism businesses and tourism and hospitality students.

A core impact of the most recent activities in Sri Lanka has been Whittall Boustead's (Kuoni's local destination management service provider) continued dedication to one-on-one training and counselling with the candidates showing most potential to be integrated in the company's product offering.