SEVENSEAS Marine Conservation & Travel Issue 14, July 2016 - Page 93

Why do you consider LT&C an important initiative and why are you interested in membership?

As one of the initiators of this centre, and having been involved in the establishment of several national parks both in Germany and internationally, I see the need and value of international exchange of experiences. With its focus on linking the different worlds of tourism and conservation, LT&C has a great potential to increase the number of examples where tourism is playing a positive role for the completion of a globally, well-managed protected area network.

Why is this case a good example of linking tourism and conservation?

-Tourists, which in this case are mostly not conservationists, are fascinated by the beauty of nature. They are inspired to support the national park and a global protected area network. ---

-Many of the several hundred thousand visitors are just coming to see the famous icon, the chalk cliff Königstuhl, but their combined entrance fee and bus ticket leads them to the national park centre first.

-This education is financed 100% by the tourists themselves through their combined ticket. After the centre was established by WWF, and private and government sponsors, it has been financially self-sufficient.

-The idea to develop a network of ancient beech forests in central Europe, especially protected within the UNESCO World Heritage, is promoted and supported by the tourists.

-The centre significantly contributes to the management of tourism activities in the national park in a way that ensures any disturbance or damage of nature is minimised.

Are there plans to further improve your example of tourism supporting conservation in the future? The Königsstuhl National Park Center is constantly monitoring its impact. It aims to learn from these findings, as well as from other national parks. It looks at how to adapt or improve its functionality so it continues to garner understanding and support from its visitors about the need for improved management in Jasmund National Park and in the global protected area network at large.

How could the example be transferred to another protected area and how could your experience be shared with others? The experiences of the Königsstuhl National Park Center could probably best be transferred to other areas and countries, where beech forests need to be better protected and where visitor centres could be placed close to a particular famous tourism site. Increased exchange of experiences with tourism and/or park managers of such areas also would be helpful.