Last year, wildlife tourism accounted for a little more than $120 billion of global gross domestic product (GDP), around five times more than the $23 billion earnings that came from the illegal wildlife trade, according to the most recent research from the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC). The successful wildlife tourism industry includes the observation and experience of animals in their natural environment, which makes up around 4.4 percent of all direct tourism GDP in 2018 and created over nine million jobs globally.
The research that came out on Monday (World Elephant Day) reveals that the entire economic contribution from wildlife tourism stands at almost $344 billion, which is the same as Hong Kong’s total economy.
World Travel & Tourism Council’s CEO speaks on wildlife trafficking
The research was highlighted by the WTTC’s President and Chief Executive Officer, Gloria Guevara, as she said, “Our message to tourism businesses, employees, and visitors across the globe is that wildlife is worth far more alive than dead”.
Wildlife tourism is a substantial part of the industry that marks how the world’s irreplaceable species can significantly enhance tourism businesses without the need to put innocent creatures in harms way. Such a strong market offers a powerful reason for people to protect and admire wild animals instead of killing them off just to make a quick bit of cash.
Guevara went on to say, “With more than 110 signatories to date, the WTTC’s Buenos Aires Declaration Against the Illegal Trade in Wildlife commits the travel industry to helping to eradicate the scourge of wildlife trafficking in the world, working together to responsibly inform the behaviour of one billion travellers across the world. This new research compounds the rationale behind our work, demonstrating the power and potential of travel to displace such illicit activity.”