Wetlands and Tourism for the Ramsar Convention

The Ramsar Wetlands Convention is an intergovernmental treaty which emerged as a result of a convention celebrated in 1971 in the Iranian city of Ramsar, promoted by different international environmental organizations. This convention includes protocols and different publications that its member countries (nowadays 163 members) have launched to maintain the ecological characteristics of their areas considered “Wetlands of International Importance”, as well as ensuring the sustainable use of all the wetlands in their territories.
http://www.ramsar.org
The wetlands are considered one of the most productive ecosystems of the world, as they provide many indispensable elements for humans such as water, food, transport, construction materials and protection for the shorelines, as well as important opportunities for tourist development. During 2012 the Ramsar Convention is focusing on tourism as one of the many ecosystem services provided by the wetlands. They offer many positive opportunities, but also a great number of challenges. The “Destination Wetlands: Promoting Sustainable Ttourism” publication, edited jointly by the Ramsar Convention and the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), with more than 80 pages, is the document where all these considerations are contained.
The opportunities that the wetlands’ tourist activities offer are related with the wealth generation, new opportunities for the development of local communities, the maintenance of local traditions, as well as ensuring the conservation of these spaces.
On the other hand, the challenges that the wetland’s tourist activities faces are related with different facts, among which the degradation caused by the extraction of materials and water for the development of infrastructures, the inappropriate elimination of residues, the massive occupation of spaces or the excessive direct impact of visitors in these ecosystems.
This publication includes different parts, and among the most outstanding parts, 14 studies and practical cases of sites included in the Ramsar Convention, from 14 countries of 5 different continents. There is also a section dedicated to recommendations and planning suggestions for those in charge of tourist management in the Ramsar Convention sites or wetlands from all over the world.
This is the link to access the “Destination Wetlands: Promoting sustainable tourism” publication.
http://www.ramsar.org/pdf/cop11/tourism-publication/Ramsar_UNWTO_tourism_en.pdf

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