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Outdoor Economy

Massive Opportunity for Conservation and Business, Will They Miss it?

 

On top Rock Arms Open

There are major opportunities in the outdoor economy that have often been overlooked.

The disconnect between conservation and economic growth comes as a result of misunderstandings and misrepresentations of social and political groups that are either focused on protecting the environment or on building the economy. The truth of the matter is that
there is opportunity for both economic growth and conservation. This becomes clear when one does a proper analysis of the situation and removes all political biases. In fact, you cannot have one without the other. Ecological sustainability will never be achieved through a focus on environment and biodiversity alone.
Social and economic values and needs must become an integral concern of nature conservation management (TNSW p5).
Well managed natural resources have tremendous benefits to human health and quality of life as well as economic, education, and scientific advancement. This is a theme throughout this website and multiple reports.

The business sector does itself a disservice to try to demonize the conservation community as standing in the way of economic progress. Clean water, clean air, and attractive natural beauty are huge drivers of economic growth and social well-being. Denial that there is any need for conservation will only harm the economy in the future.
Entrepreneurs and conservationists who work together in a purposeful, ethical way using common sense can achieve great social and economic progress that is sustainable and beneficial to the people and the planet.

The Power of Outdoor Recreation and Tourism

Many conservation organizations see tourism as one of the sectors with the greatest potential for linking conservation to economic development. ( IUCN-Kouni Group) Tourism is the largest industry in the world and growing fast. “For wealthy westerners, travel is now an addiction” (The Economist).
Tourism generates over $2 trillion in spending, $730 billion in earnings and 6.5 million full-time jobs while growing 4-5% annually regardless of war, disease, or terrorism. ( Needham, RRMP at OSU).

Tourism can also be harmful. Mass Tourism can lead to overcrowding, congestion, and overuse causing pollution, waste and degradation of natural resources.

On the other hand,
carefully developed sustainable tourism and eco-tourism can empower local people while providing financial and conservation benefits. In fact, the outdoor recreation industry can provide much greater employment and economic opportunities to a community and have a much lighter impact on local environments than industries that focus on extraction of natural resources. Employment related to recreational activities can exceed employment related to resource exploitation by more than 5 times (Kuenzi and McNeely) . Wildlife related recreation (fishing, hunting, and wildlife viewing) on National Forest lands provide a significant benefit to state and regional economies throughout the nation. In 1996, wildlife related recreation created 238,800 full time jobs and generated $21million in state sales and income taxes (USFW).
In 2012, outdoor recreation contributed $646 billion in consumer spending to the US economy and more than $39.7 billion in tax revenue while creating 6.1 million American jobs(OIA 2012). Outdoor recreation contributes nearly twice the positive economic impact than the automotive, pharmaceutical and oil industries.

How to build a sustainable outdoor recreation industry

In order to build a successful outdoor industry there must be a focus on customer satisfaction as well as environmental conservation
. “Satisfied customers are believed to affect the long-term viability of the organization in the competitive business environment and also for enhancing experience of visitors with attraction.” (IJMMR, Vol. 4, No. 1) The integrity of the facilities and natural resources are crucial to customer satisfaction. The Association of British Travel Agents found that
one in three travelers now believe that vacation products should have an environmental rating. ABTA’s study also showed that 19% of these travelers were willing to pay more for it.
Nature-based businesses are dependent on clean water and untrammeled natural landscapes(CNBT-BC).

Customer service, empathy, and local knowledge are also extremely important
. Training is a key factor to the success of any organization and staff must be provided with proper training in terms of communicating with guests (IJMMR, Vol. 4, No. 1).
Enhancing quality of interpretation at visitor centers, attractions, and on tours is a major opportunity area for nature tourism. People learn better when they are using as many senses as appropriate. It is generally recognized that people retain 10% of what they hear, 30% of what they read, 50% of what they see, and 90% of what they do (TNSW p5).

Most of all, building a sustainable economy that will have long-term benefits for the people and the environment requires the cooperation and teamwork of the entire community. Every nature reserve needs a management plan and a dedicated community of volunteers to care for it.

People want to live healthy, vibrant lives in an area where they can enjoy themselves in the outdoors. This can be achieved through cooperation between both the business and conservation community.

Other Related Articles:

http://adventureblog.nationalgeographic.com/2013/05/29/guides-are-portals-to-the-outdoor-world-lets-give-them-the-support-they-need/#%21

http://adventureblog.nationalgeographic.com/author/averystonich/

http://www.wengerna.com/blog/outdoor-recreation-americas-overlooked-economic-giant/

What Industries thrive in a recession?

Fishing Sunset

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WHAT INDUSTRIES THRIVE IN A RECESSION?

Many would think of industries like healthcare, education, business services, and debt settlement.

When the going gets tough, the tough go camping.

I can remember when the stock market crashed in 2008.  It was clear that this was going to be serious and not some easy thing. I went into a reading frenzy to learn all I could about what was going on and how to prepare.  The bookshelves were filled with doomsday predictions calling for another great depression, inflation, unemployment and so forth.  I gave particular attention to the information that was backed by research and followed patterns of earlier recessions.  It became more and more obvious, that the years ahead were going to be extremely tough.

I called my friends in the outdoor industry to warn them about the predictions.

“This is going to be serious” I said “You better be prepared to tighten up.  It is not going bounce back any time soon.”

I had a conversation with one of the senior guides who had been through a number of recessions and worked around the world for many different companies such as biking, hiking, climbing, kayaking, and outdoor gear companies.  He was calm, and said it was typical for the outdoor recreation industry to do well in hard times.

To my surprise, after a brief lull, business picked up and even began to break records of the numbers of visitors even though the news was full of doom and gloom about the economies around the world.

He was right!

People are not willing to give up their vacations.  Travel and tourism continued to thrive.  We saw an increase in domestic travel rather than longer exotic trips. Studies showed that 72 percent of Americans preferred shorter trips

People seemed to look to the outdoors to sooth their souls.

More than 140 million Americans continued to make outdoor recreation a priority despite all the uncertainty according to the 2012 OIA economic report.

Outdoor industry gear sales came back strong and were up over 8 percent and product sales were over $120 billion in 2012.

A record number of travelers visited the US national parks even with the threats of budget cuts and layoffs looming ever closer.

Adventure travel boomed globally growing over 17% in 2009 and 2010. Adventure Travel accounted for about $89 billion in global spending making up about 16% of all departures from North America, South America and Europe.

There is a lot more to this industry.  Even with Europe facing increasing challenges in 2013 and the fiscal challenges in the US, people’s thirst for adventure in the great outdoors shows no signs of slowing down.

What was your experience with the economy since2008?  What challenges are you facing now?

 

What is Environmental Education by Definition?

There are many definitions for environmental education depending on where you look.

Although definitions may vary, there seems to be some common agreements to what it is and what it should be.

Environmental education is often thought of when teaching about the environment and conservation.  Sometimes it is referred to as experiential learning outside and may include things like outdoor classrooms, outdoor adventures, and outdoor recreation.  It also often refers to learning about natural processes in the classroom.

This video is a compilation of various definitions of environmental education from some leading organizations and authorities.

 

What is your definition for environmental education?

Please leave it in the comment box below.

Conventional Economics and Nature: Related or a Form of Brain Damage?

David Suzuki is a scientist, author, and lecturer that has become one of the most recognizable voices for conservation. He makes the argument in this video that conventional economics is a form of brain damage He goes on to argue that economist are fundamentally disconnected with the real world. Whether you agree or disagree, it is worth understanding his point of view.

Can Natural Resources Combat Poverty in Rural Areas?

The Fatu Hiva RainforestWhat will be the results of this unprecedented, recent decision by the the United Nations?

It is hard to care that much about the environment when you are hungry and struggling to survive.

Poverty continues to plague many parts of the world.

Indigenous populations face many challenges such as lack of food, clean water, education and opportunity.

They look for what ever means necessary to add to their circumstances and help feed themselves.

There may be solutions within the beautiful landscapes and among the flora and fauna that don’t include burning or poaching.

Efforts that are made to understand the natural and cultural stories and share them with the world could attract a growing demographic of travelers.

Many local populations do not realize the value of the stories that they have learned growing up in their area.  The time they have spent observing the wildlife and listening to the stories of their ancestors may hold more benefit than they are aware of.

Few people in rural communities that are surrounded by natural areas understand that their adventures off into the wilderness may have given them specialized knowledge that can be turned into revenue for themselves and their families.

Trends show that a growing number of travelers are more interested in learning about the history and culture of the places they visit and interacting with the local populations.

Places that have unique flora and fauna are of particular interest to certain travelers and nature enthusiasts.

Policy makers are beginning to realize the power of tourism to bring much needed economic development to impoverished areas.

In December 21, 2012, The United Nations General Assembly recently adopted a landmark resolution entitled “Promotion of ecotourism for poverty eradication and environment protection”, “positive impact on income generation, job creation and education, and thus on the fight against poverty and hunger”. It further recognizes that “ecotourism creates significant opportunities for the conservation, protection and sustainable use of biodiversity and of natural areas by encouraging local and indigenous communities in host countries and tourists alike to preserve and respect the natural and cultural heritage”.

There is genuine concern when developing a tourism industry that it may have negative implications.

Sometimes tourism can be destructive and developments can block access for local populations from enjoying their own land as well as threaten their culture, environment and heritage sites.

Several municipalities have created regulations that prevent the destruction of natural areas and promote an atmosphere that will attract conscientious visitors that are drawn to the flora and fauna rather than the high-rises and night clubs.

Studies have shown that these travelers tend to spend more money, stay longer, and have more positive impact on the places they visit.  More of their money tends to find it’s way into the local economy.

It takes time and investment to develop sustainable tourism. Building capacity needs to be done systematically with a well thought out plan and process.

Policy makers and stakeholders need to be sensitive when dealing with local populations that have a history of being marginalized.

The UN resolution draws on information in a report by The World Tourism Organization, UNWTO, which encourages a number of initiatives that include creating cooperation among stake holders and creating financial mechanisms such as microcredit for the poor and in local and indigenous communities, in rural areas that have ecotourism potential.

Examples of potential of constructive and destructive tourism development can be found all over the world and used as a reference when moving forward.

What has been your experience?


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