Ronda J Green, BSc(Hons) PhD, is chair of Wildlife Tourism Australia Inc. and adjunct research fellow at Griffith University. She runs Araucaria Ecotours specialising in educational wildlife tours (all with advanced eco-certification), was part of the Wildlife sector of the CRC for Sustainable Tourism, is guest editor of Journal of Ecotourism, and has been an invited speaker on sustainable wildlife tourism in Indonesia, Malaysia, Fiji and Japan. She has conducted much ecological research (seed dispersal by frugivores, effects of habitat alteration on wildlife etc.), lectured in ecology and nature tourism at several universities, conducted many fauna surveys, and authored and edited numerous publications on wildlife tourism and ecology. Lockdown has halted tours for now, but she is currently writing books, collating a report on recent WTA webinars, renovating a wildlife ecology centre and nature trails on her rainforest property, and (through Wildlife Queensland) organising the establishment of wildlife corridors.
Sustainable Wildlife Tourism in Asia and the Pacific: Future Perspectives
In 2019 the UNWTO commissioned us to prepare a report on sustainable wildlife tourism in Asia and the Pacific, under the framework of the UNWTO/Chimelong Initiative, focusing on good practice examples of non-consumptive and primarily non-captive wildlife tourism. This involved consulting with world experts on criteria for selecting good practice examples, and doing much internet research and consultation with persons involved in tourism wildlife conservation and animal welfare in every country in the region, eventually settling on eighteen examples spread across a number of countries and types of operation (ecolodges, guided tours, sole traders, multinational companies, government initiatives, and marine and terrestrial habitats). We here present some examples of good-practice interpretation, environmental safeguards, biodiversity conservation projects, animal welfare, citizen science and contribution to local community that could well be emulated elsewhere. Some problems with achieving good practice are presented, along with some possible solutions. Finally, we note some of the gaps we found, such as the relative lack of botanical tours compared to other world regions, lack of online promotion of many natural areas, at least in English, difficulty of finding of good wildlife experiences in some countries, and some largely missed opportunities for interpretation of wildlife and ecosystems. These gaps, in conjunction with the examples of excellence plus opportunities to cater for domestic tourism within the wildlife tourism field to better cope with downturns in international travel (such as Covid-19 lockdown), can help guide the way for wildlife tourism enterprises into the future.