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World Wetlands Day is celebrated every year on 2 February, marking the date of the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands in 1971, known as the Ramsar Convention.

World Wetlands Day Besides providing essential services such as water, food and energy, wetlands offer significant opportunities for tourism, which can in turn deliver economic benefits for local communities and the sustainable management of wetlands.

Revival of wetlands, as in the case of Ein Afek Nature Reserve in Israel, is important for not only nature conservation but also eco-tourism, wetland education, and ecological research. Wetlands offer a range of recreational activities include sunbathing, swimming, boating, diving, snorkeling, photography, bird-watching, and simply enjoying the landscape. If not properly managed, however, tourism can also harm wetland, as in the unfortunate case of China’s Qinghai Province where Qinghai Lake became a huge rubbish dump.

The strong connection between wetlands and tourism brought the World Wetlands Day theme for 2012 to be “Wetlands and Tourism.” Ensuring well-managed tourism practices in and around wetlands and educating tourists on the value of wetlands contributes to the health of the world’s wetlands, and the long-term benefits that wetlands provide to people, wildlife, economics, and biodiversity.

Learn more how about how to successfully use wetlands for tourism through the UNWTO’s Destination Wetlands: Supporting Sustainable Tourism; Wetlands International’s publication Factsheet Wetlands and Poverty Reduction Project or the Use of Wetlands for Sustainable Tourism Management in the Boondall Wetlands Reserve, Australia.

As the tourist industry is looking for new attractions, and with tourists’ growing awareness of environmental issues of tourists, new kind of attractions are popping up: landfills and cleantech facilities.

Hiriya -Turning Landfills and Cleantech Facilities into a Tourist AttractionA few places around the world have transformed former landfills into nature parks. The Hiriya Center for Environmental Education in Israel, for example, attracts domestic and international tourists as well as professional visitors. Another example is the former landfill in Hangzhou, China, where tourists can visit its trash-to-gas power plant, play environmental video games, and hike in an eco-park the size of 10 football fields.

Cleantech facilities also serve as a tourist attraction that educate and offer experiential activities. The Solar Garden in Binyamina, Israel, is one such an educational initiative designed to promote awareness and use of green energy sources and environmental technologies (CleanTech) amongst the Israeli public. It was intentionally built in a place easily accessible with public transportation.

Another example is the Singapore National Water Agency’s NEWater Visitor Centre that promises a fun-filled and enriching time for all its guests with its free daily tours and educational workshops. There, one can learn of the water treatment and water planning of technological Singapore.

One particularly innovative attraction is the Pool+ project in Manhattan, which will be a floating pool in the Hudson River that would filter the river’s water through the pool walls, making it possible for New Yorkers and visitors to swim in clean river water, with pool fees helping to clean the river. This unique pool is thus a water filtration plant and a visitor attraction.

So what can you do? In addition to visiting and spreading the word about such attractions, if you have cleantech facilities in your hotel/lodge, share this information with the guests and make it an educational experience for them.

Remember to share it with us, too!

October 01 2015 – This year’s World Tourism Day theme ‘1 Billion Tourists – 1 Billion Opportunities’ sounds like a slogan for an advert to entice consumers to buy a product like a laundry detergent or hamburger. The UNWTO invites us to celebrate 1 billion tourist arrivals per year and the seemingly unlimited growth of the travel and tourism industry; it is hoped that by 2030, almost 2 billion people will have embraced the tourist lifestyle. Travindy Read more.

Siraj Center, West Bank

Categories: Asia, Community, Human Capital Development, Management, Operations, People and Places, Residents, West
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The Siraj Center in the West Bank (Palestinian Territory) , located near Bethlehem, works to educate and promote a new vision for local tourism as an alternative to the area’s long time dependence on pilgrimage mass tourism. As a non-governmental organisation founded in 2005, the Siraj Center develops sustainable tourism programmes and businesses under the ownership of local, marginalised communities, and promotes and fosters a positive image for Palestine to the international tourist market.

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Feynan Ecolodge

Categories: Asia, Community, Cultural Heritage, Energy, People and Places, Planet, West
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The first ecolodge in Jordan, the Feynan Ecolodge supports the local communities and wildlife of the Dana Biosphere Reserve, while introducing guests to the lifestyles and legacy of the Bedouin. It is run on 100% sustainable power and 80% of products used at the lodge are purchased from within 60km radius. Likewise all the onsite employees are hired from local tribes and villages around the reserve. All this means over half the money paid by guests at Feynan stays in the immediate local area, benefiting 450 local people in 2014. As a result of its efforts, the business has grown by 28% since 2012; even though tourist numbers to Jordan haven been affected by unrest which also had effect on its neighbours in the Middle East (Jordan has borders with Iraq, Syria, Israel and Saudi Arabia).

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Intercultural Encounters on Abraham’s Path

Categories: Asia, Case Study, Cultural Heritage, Management, Monitoring & Evaluation, Operations, People and Places, West
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Tourism and Sustainable Development in the Palestinian Territories

Project Name: Organizational development and development of touristic products for the cultural walking trail Abraham’s Path Palestine (Masar Ibrahim Al Khalil)

Partner: Masar Ibrahim Al Khalil

by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH

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