A leading conservationist has put forward suggestions for the travel industry to better protect the world’s wildlife as the world starts to ‘retravel’.
Managed tourism measures in destination and education about the realities of wildlife experiences and the reality of their impact on the animals involved were identified.
Dr Jane Goodall put forward her comments as part of a ‘Retravel Live’ event run by G Adventures.
Goodall, who runs the Toronto-based Jane Goodall Institute of Canada, acknowledged the current state of the travel industry and recognised the need for change.
The ‘Retravel Live: Wildlife deserve a Wild Life’ event was the second in G Adventures’ virtual events in which leading figures from across the industry tackle pressing issues facing the travel sector.
She said: “It’s very fortunate there’s this pause and rethinking, and I think it had begun before the pandemic; some companies realised we need to do things differently.
“As the world got wealthier and more people started to travel, they were destroying the world by sheer numbers. Culturally and environmentally, travel was going wrong.
“One of the things to avoid is more people – the secret is tourism that is controlled. The number of people that are allowed in, and how long they can stay, and that is tough, but it has to be.”
A number of questions were asked by agents about how to talk to customers about wildlife experiences to avoid disappointment when in destination.
Goodall suggested an honest and educational approach and said: “So many operators never talk about the negative side because they want the customer, so they paint a rosy picture and don’t tell the people, who might not go if they realise their going would be distressing to the animal.”
Other key topics covered during the conversation with G Adventures founder Bruce Poon Tip Bruce included the importance of responsible travel for wildlife, the danger of over-tourism for animals, the increase in poaching as a result of reduced tourism following the pandemic and the role tourism can play in curbing cruel animal traditions.
G Adventures has also updated its Jane Goodall Collection of wildlife-friendly tours for 2021.
Following the 40 minute discussion, Poon Tip issued a personal challenge to the audience to help spread Dr Goodall’s important messages.
Poon Tip said: “Jane’s work is a legacy, the work she has done for the last 60 years, and it’s important we all carry that message now, beyond the chimps.
“The messages of peace and hope and the connection between wildlife and conservation. We’re all part of this planet, we have to share it and it’s about equality for all living beings.
“I challenge everyone to find three or four people and share that message. We are more powerful as a community and we can carry her message and help her legacy be known in our own communities.”
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