ICRI Side Event on Sustainable Tourism, ‘Presenting for Protection: Eliciting behaviour change in visitors to World Heritage Areas’, hosted by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority

On 29 November International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI) Secretariat co-host, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, held an international workshop on sustainable tourism management and the presentation of marine World Heritage values.

The event, which followed the Global Eco Asia-Pacific Tourism Conference in Townsville, Australia, gathered coral reef managers from countries including Samoa, Vietnam, Palau, as well as ICRI Secretariat co-host Indonesia. Participants shared their expertise in the management of coral reefs through talking about the challenges they faced and the initiatives being implemented in their areas.

Expert presenters from Galapagos National Park, Belize Ministry of Fisheries, and the Solomon Islands Ministry of Culture and Tourism introduced their actions to support sustainable tourism management of coral reef areas, while staff of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and accredited high-standard tourism operators of the Great Barrier Reef spoke about the importance of communicating the value of the Reef to visitors, with the aim of embedding take home messages and eliciting behaviour change.

The event highlighted that well-managed coral reef tourism can support communities through economic development while at the same time helping to protect coral reefs. Effectively presenting and protecting environmental and cultural assets is vitally important to ensure tourism activities are sustainable.