Ecotourism encourages travelers to seek out destinations with unique wildlife and natural landscapes but to do so without disrupting the environment. This year on World Migratory Bird Day, the United Nations World Tourism Organization promoted its Destination Flyways program, which aims to encourage responsible travel along migration routes worldwide.
According to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, wildlife watching generates $32 billion per year from United States travel alone. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature suggests that migratory routes will be better protected if tourism increases there, as the revenue they bring in makes them more valuable. Travelers may also be energized to support these sites after visiting them.
"Tourism has a major responsibility in advancing biodiversity protection," UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai said in a press release. "Every year, millions of tourists are wondered by the world's wild flora and fauna while travelling."
As World Migratory Bird Day seeks to demonstrate, the worldwide routes of animals are part of a global heritage. By taking advantage of natural attractions such as migrations, tourists from the U.S. have the opportunity to both explore important wildlife sites and help preserve them for future travelers.