The jobs and foreign currency that animal tourism brings make the industry a key contributor to poverty reduction. The World Tourism Organization, a United Nations agency, is working to use tourism to fight hunger and provide quality education to local residents.
But economic benefits are not always confined to the areas providing the animal tourism — in Uganda, the money generated from gorilla tourism is shared with border communities as well.
Tourists also contribute to the survival of communities’ cultures by buying local products and seeking out authentic cultural experiences. Communities then have economic incentive to keep their traditions alive.
But tourists can’t spend money in these communities if they never visit. And wildlife is a major incentive for people to travel to certain areas. For example, 42% of people state they would not have visited Hervey Bay, Australia if whale watching wasn’t offered. So in some places, the broader tourism industry heavily relies on animal interaction activities to attract visitors in the first place.
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Michael Hutchins – National Geographic Blog. Retrieved from https://blog.nationalgeographic.org/2014/07/01/conserving-wildlife-through-responsible-tourism-an-interview-with-dr-michael-hutchins/
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