Sep 27, 2019

How Responsible Tourism Can Save Our Coral Reefs

Learn about the economic impact of tourism in the 2019 global report from the World Travel & Tourism Council. Take a look at Springer’s overview of Tourism and the Environment to learn more about the harm that we have caused and how it can be mitigated. This MOOC Coursera course from the University of Copenhagen introduces you to the key environmental and natural resources management challenges associated with the rapid growth of international tourism in low-income countries.

Have travel plans? Research your environmental impact before you travel. Make sure you know how to protect local ecosystems and what actions you should avoid. Critically, if you are going scuba diving, don't touch the corals. It takes decades for corals to grow, so leave them on the reef.

Of course, tourism isn't the only thing harming Earth's corals. Global warming had led to mass bleaching events and die-offs. But there are simple actions you can take, right now, to help reduce your impact. To begin with, check the lights in your house. Energy-efficient light bulbs reduce greenhouse gas emissions. If your bulbs are efficient, change them.

September 27th is World Tourism Day. But it’s more than just a time to celebrate our ability to travel the world and enjoy its wonder. It’s a time to raise awareness about how tourism impacts our world — to reflect on the social, cultural, environmental, and economic value and devastation it causes. Tourism provides jobs and helps bolster local economies. It allows us to encounter new ideas and cultures. But it also puts enormous stress on our ecosystems. It can lead to soil erosion, increased pollution, loss of natural habitats, and extinction.

The result? The slow destruction of the habitats and environment upon which tourism itself depends.

Coral reefs, in particular, are feeling the strain of human impact. They are dying around the world. 50 percent of the Great Barrier Reef is already dead. One of the great threats to these complex ecosystems is careless tourism. But the Gili Lankanfushi resort is combining tourism with conservation to regrow our reefs.

Their Coral Lines Project is a reef rehabilitation effort. Ropes with small fragments of living coral are nursed and transplanted onto damaged reefs. Guests at the resort assist with caring for these tiny corals.

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