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Opportunities for Transforming Coastal and Marine Tourism: Towards Sustainability, Regeneration and Resilience

While the inherent balancing act of nature-based tourism has always been apparent, the unprecedented pause in global tourism induced by the pandemic has provided a unique opportunity to reassess and reset.

Full Report

In December 2020, the High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy (Ocean Panel) released its ‘Transformations for a Sustainable Ocean Economy: A Vision for Protection, Production and Prosperity’.

One of the pillars of action within this ambitious roadmap for a sustainable ocean economy was for sustainable ocean-based tourism, establishing the goal that by 2030 “Coastal and ocean-based tourism is sustainable, resilient, addresses climate change, reduces pollution, supports ecosystem regeneration and biodiversity conservation and invests in local jobs and communities.”

To support efforts to deliver on this goal, the Ocean Panel commissioned a body of knowledge on coastal and marine tourism, including this special report.

We’ve seen the devastating impacts that the global pandemic has had on tourism, particularly for small island and coastal communities. We’ve also seen cases where reduced pressure from mass tourism has resulted in recovery of coastal and marine ecosystems. The past few years has made a strong case for change. There is an urgent need to ensure the continued viability of this important sector while at the same time building its resilience to climate change, disasters, pollution, urbanisation and ecosystem degradation. We know that sustainable ocean-based tourism can restore and protect the ocean while delivering jobs and prosperity. However, achieving this ambitious vision requires strategic public and private investments.

This special report outlines an approach for sustainable coastal and marine tourism that increases the focus on regeneration and resilience. It contains inspiring examples of destinations and individual businesses shifting towards a more sustainable approach that helps to restore the local environment on which it depends, supports local economic prosperity, and protects and even revitalises local traditional and heritage.

The coordinating lead author of this report is Eliza Northrop. Contributing authors include Peter Schuhmann, Lauretta Burke, Alan Fyall, Sergio Alvarez, Anna Spenceley, Susanne Becken, Kumi Kato, Joyashree Roy, Shreya Some, Joeli Veitayaki, Anil Markandya, Ibon Galarraga, Patxi Greño, Itziar Ruiz-Gauna, Matt Curnock, Megan Epler Wood, Melody Yue Yin, Sibylle Riedmiller, Eleanor Carter, Rizky Haryanto, Elizabeth Holloway, Robertico Croes, Jorge Ridderstaat and Maksim Godovykh.


Explore the accompanying Sustainable Coastal and Marine Tourism Expert Perspectives.

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