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Destination Flyways Project

Developing Sustainable Tourism

World Migratory Bird Day 2014 will highlight through the “Destination Flyways" project the vast potential to harness bird-related tourism to help conserve migratory birds while at the same time supporting local communities. The project will function as a prime example of how tourism can be a vehicle for both environmental and socio-economic sustainability, bringing benefits to migratory birds, local communities and tourists alike.”

In 2012, a record one billion tourists crossed international borders - a true milestone in international travel and a clear sign of the strength of the tourism sector.

The “Destination Flyways" project is channeling this strength into a force for global biodiversity conservation and enhanced livelihoods for local communities by creating a network of sustainable and resilient tourism destinations. Led by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) together with partners with sound experience in the field of conservation and tourism, Destination Flyways is developing and diversifying the sustainable tourism offer in a number of destinations along the world’s greatest migratory bird flyways, channeling tourism revenue back into conservation of the sites. 

Each year, billions of migratory birds set out to travel the world, flying along the same routes, known as flyways. Spanning continents and oceans, and used by a myriad of bird species, the flyways represent one of the most spectacular and valuable phenomenon of the world’s natural heritage.

During their travels, migratory birds depend upon a chain of vital sites to breed, rest and feed and to spend the winter. Many of these sites are spectacularly rich in biodiversity, natural beauty and environmental value. These characteristics give these sites not only great tourism potential but also make them important for conservation.

However, external pressures continue to grow threatening these key habitats and sites that are important to migratory birds and the communities surrounding them.

The Destination Flyways projects will promote sustainable tourism for local communities at eight important migratory bird sites in Africa, Asia and Europe that migratory birds need in order to survive.

The preliminary phase of the project is ongoing with support from the Federal Ministry of the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety of Germany

[Where are the Destination Flyways Sites?]

[Read More about Flyways]

Key Objectives of the Destination Flyways Project

Enhanced conservation of key habitats and species: by developing and implementing site management plans bringing together environmental and sustainable tourism objectives will serve as a strategic mechanism for the conservation of vital sites for migratory birds and the spread of benefits to the local community. Photo: © Soaring Flamingo Safari Trekking - flickr.com

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Enhanced local livelihoods: developing and marketing innovative sustainable tourism products in collaboration with local communities and authorities and the private sector will result in employment opportunities and greater competitiveness of the tourism destinations. Photo © Tim Dodman

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Tourism positioned as an engine for sustainability and behavioural change: carefully monitoring its impacts will allow sustainable tourism to be prioritized as a viable alternative in comparison to other productive sectors and disseminating the value of ecosystem services. Photo © Neerav Bhatt

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Effective implementation of Multilateral Environmental Agreements: this can be achieved by sharing local success stories and fostering the exchange of knowledge within the various levels of government and across a global network of flyway destinations.

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Organized by the UNWTO

The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) is the United Nations agency responsible for the promotion of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism. UNWTO’s membership includes 156 countries, 6 Associate Members and over 400 Affiliate Members representing the private sector, educational institutions, tourism associations and local tourism authorities.

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Related Resources

Destination Wetlands: Supporting Sustainable Tourism

Wetlands offer significant tourism opportunities that can be a key source of income for many developing countries, bringing economic benefits to national and local economies and contributing to local livelihoods. There is evidence too that well-managed, sustainable tourism can contribute to wetland conservation and wise use as well.

[Read More]

Practical Guide for the Development of Biodiversity-based Tourism Products

The aim of the Practical Guide is to raise awareness on the issue of biodiversity conservation with tourism operations and to give ideas on planning, management, marketing and monitoring of such biodiversity-based tourism products. The authors and editors are confident that this approach will be valuable for nature, the tourist, the hosts and the entrepreneurs.

[Read More]

Tourism and Biodiversity

Biodiversity – the web of species and ecosystems that makes up our planet – provides us with the vital services our lives depend on. Yet this rich diversity is being lost at an alarming rate, due largely to unsustainable human activities…

[Read More]

Eco-Tourism and the Green Economy

A growing body of evidence shows that greening tourism can lead to broad economic, social and environmental benefits for host countries and their communities. Tourism’s potential for creating employment, supporting livelihoods and enabling sustainable development is huge, given that it is one of the main sources of foreign-exchange income—the principal source for one-third of developing countries' and one-half of the world’s LDCs according to the UN Conference on Trade and Development.

[Read More]

Wildlife Watching and Tourism

It is a sign of the important place wildlife holds for people, that so many want to watch animals in their natural habitats, and that the popularity of wildlife watching tourism continues to grow. As well as providing enjoyment for millions of people, wildlife watching tourism is a significant source of income and employment for a growing number of communities, particularly in developing countries, and underlines the value of conservation. It also can help raise awareness of a whole range of pressing environmental issues that face us, for the survival of wildlife in its habitats is at risk from climate change, pollution and land conversion, just as we are.

[Read More]

Join Us and Celebrate World Migratory Bird Day

To become a part of this year's campaign, register your own activity for WMBD 2014 on this website! Celebrate migratory birds and raise awareness about this year's theme 'Destination Flyways: Migratory Birds and Tourism'.

[Register Your Activity]

For more ideas for your own WMBD 2014 activity browse through the other globally registered WMBD events which took place in past WMBD Campaigns!

[Events from Past WMBD Campaigns]