About the UNWTO/Chimelong Initiative

Wildlife is not only an essential element of the world heritage but also a major asset for many countries, particularly for those where tourism constitutes a priority and a major component of their GDP. Illegal trafficking, poaching and lack of knowledge about the potential of wildlife have been some of the factors that have put this unique animal and vegetal richness at risk.

The traditional concerns of the World Tourism Organization on protection and conservation of wildlife are well-known. Research work such as ‘Towards Measuring the Economic Value of Wildlife Watching Tourism in Africa’ (UNWTO, 2015) have portrayed the potential of tourism as catalyst to increase awareness, to promote conservation and protection policies and to engage multiple stakeholders in this global cause.

The commitment of the World Tourism Organization upon this theme has been reinforced by the adoption in 2015 by the United Nations General Assembly of the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development 2017. The initiative, to be led by the World Tourism Organization, has been articulated by a global campaign joined by governments, private sector recipients and civil society, aimed at raising awareness, at bringing partners of different nature and at building common action around the need to apply more sustainable and responsible practices into the tourism sector.

After the adoption of the International Year, the 1st Conference on Tourism for Development was held in Beijing (May 2016), in close cooperation with the Government of the Republic of China and the Chinese National Tourism Administration. In the framework of that Conference, a partnership agreement between the Chimelong Group and the World Tourism Organization was signed in order to amplify the potential of tourism as a driver of wildlife protection and conservation.

The initiative started its implementation in 2017 and will run through 2019 and has as major focus on wildlife conservation in Africa and Asia and the Pacific as wildlife acquires a global dimension in these parts of the world. The initiative includes approaches such as capacity building, media engagement, research and talent development and addresses multiple stakeholders like governments, tourism administrations, media, civil society and private sector. 

Objectives of the UNWTO/Chimelong Initiative:

  • Advocate the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through sustainable tourism with particular reference to wildlife conservation
  • Enhance the quality of human capital in sustainable tourism and wildlife conservation
  • Exploit the potential for cooperation with special emphasis on conducting research to deliver solutions and advance ideas that will lead to sustainable tourism and wildlife conservation
  • Encourage the tourism private sector to adhere to corporate social responsibility, especially in wildlife conservation

UNWTO/Chimelong Initiative areas of contribution:

  • Activities related to  the improvement of the quality of human capital
  • Theme based research
  • Activities related to advocating wildlife conservation
  • Activities for establishing tourist information facilities on wildlife conservation

UNWTO/Chimelong Initiative areas of work:

  • Africa
  • Asia & the Pacific 
  • Media Activities