Wildlife Tourism: Contributing to Social Change

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A benefit of conservation is wildlife expereinces for tourists

Everyday life and the resulting Greenhouse Gas Emissions contribute to loss of wildlife habitat in high energy using developed economies. While the general public don’t wish to see the loss of animals, birds and marine life, they feel powerless to stop GHG pollution. They are also not sufficiently motivated to change their social practices. So what can tourism do to reverse the trend? It has the potential to encourage more mindful choices in the younger generation, which I will illustrate during my keynote talk at the 3rd Australian Wildlife Conference.

I believe that Wildlife Tourism has a vital role to play in helping consumers build mental bridges between their consumption impacts and the needs of wildlife. That is to say that Responsible Wildlife Tourism can do more than contribute to conservation and local economic development; it can demonstrate the needs of flora and fauna in a motivating way to encourage social change.

This goal is already pursued by many excellent wildlife tourism companies and NGOs. To further this I argue that our world Aboriginal cultures can also make valuable contributions to this Responsible Tourism campaign. For example, the Australian Aboriginal cultural heritage, which highly values wildlife and habitats, can be integrated further into Wildlife Tourism experiences and so demonstrate how humans can better value wildlife. By giving tourists information, activities, cultural heritage values and, critically, time to reflect, we can help moderate an individual’s ever increasing rate of consumption and encourage mindful choices. My talk will present the results of how children’s levels of environmental concern can be increased through structured Wildlife Tourism activities.

Read how responsible touism is setting clearer codes of conduct for tourists and wildlife tourism businesses.