Global wildlife tourism generates five times more revenue than the illegal wildlife trade annually, according to a study by the World Travel & Tourism Council.
In 2018, wildlife tourism directly contributed $120.1bn (approximately R1.8tn) to global GDP, versus the $23bn (approximately R353bn) in revenue attributed to the illegal trade in wildlife, or 5.2 times more, according to research by the council.
This includes viewing and experiencing animals in their natural habitat, which accounted for 4.4% of all direct tourism GDP last year and directly provided 9.1 million jobs worldwide.
The research shows that the total economic contribution of wildlife tourism totals $343.6bn (approximately R5.2tn).
Asia-Pacific forms the largest regional market, worth $53.3bn (approximately R821bn) in direct GDP and responsible for 4.5 million jobs. In second place is Africa, where 3.6 million people are employed through wildlife tourism, which was worth $29.3bn (approximately R449bn) last year.
Gloria Guevara, the council’s president and CEO, said in a statement: “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 rich segment of the industry, showing how our precious species can legitimately enrich tourism businesses without being harmed. In fact, the wildlife tourism market is so strong – worth five times more than the illegal trade – that it provides a strong incentive for communities to protect and display animals to the world rather than killing them for a one-off cash bonus.”
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SOURCE: TMG DIGITAL