From the Great Barrier Reef to the Appalachian Trail, people are intrinsically drawn to wild and natural places. Tourism operators have some of the best jobs in the world exploring and educating others about these extraordinary locations. With World Wildlife Day just around the corner in March, here are some straightforward ways sustainable tourism tour operators can help to support our amazing wildlife across the world!”

1) Raising awareness about threatened and endangered species

Whether you’re running whale tours or forest ziplining, you could be in a prime position to help educate guests and raise awareness about threatened or endangered species in the local area. This can even be great for business: with 41% of Australian travellers and 53% of global travellers wanting to travel more sustainably in the future, it’s the ideal time to involve and educate guests. This might include adding information into displays and tour guide information, sharing important environmental messaging on your tour and activity booking system, and shaping children’s activities around the theme of conservation.

2) Joining wildlife surveys and wildlife conservation activities

Because tourism operators are out in the field so much, they have unique opportunities to make a real difference. Tourism companies and their teams might decide to contribute to ecosystem monitoring, working with scientists to keep track of birds, aquatic animals or vulnerable species in the area. There are many citizen science programs to join and contribute to, from the UK’s Big Garden Birdwatch to Australia’s FrogID initiative. Plus, there’s the option of joining habitat conservation programs that can make a real difference in your operating environment. 

3) Reviewing procedures and training to minimise harm

As research and awareness about local wildlife both improve over time, it’s a great idea to review procedures and training to ensure the business is doing everything possible to minimise its impact. Some examples might be changing a policy on how tour guides and guests can interact with animals; going paperless with online travel booking engine software; or switching to more sustainable transport methods that leave a lighter footprint. Not only does this help to protect wildlife in the area, but it also demonstrates how important wildlife preservation is to your guests – and leaves them with a great feeling too. 

4) Hiring people who are passionate about wildlife

You can have all the right policies in place, but ultimately it takes the right people to live, breathe and reflect low-impact values. Where possible, it’s worth asking new hires about their approach to wildlife preservation and provide training for new staff to bring them up to speed on the business’s policies. When you have a passionate and well-educated team in place, you can be confident that everything from your paperless activity booking system to your guest experiences is environmentally sound while spreading word about the importance of these ecosystems. 

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