The participants came from a wide variety of countries, such as kenya, nigeria, the gambia, uganda, egypt, austria and haiti. In six thematic blocks, the participants addressed the question of how tourism requirements and objectives can be reconciled with the goals of biodiversity, species diversity and nature conservation, because one is inconceivable without the other, explained michael meyer of the UNWTO, advisory office for tourism and biodiversity, bonn.
Current trends in tourism as well as basic information on nature conservation were considered. As meyer explained, the trend today is away from target group analyses and toward milieu studies. In order to successfully advertise a vacation region, it is important to know who you actually want to address with your advertising. Whereas up to now the focus has been on target groups such as families, 45 plus or pensioners, in the future there will be a greater emphasis on advertising to the general public. What expectations does the tourist have of the vacation destination or the vacation?? This question is to be answered increasingly target group-spreading.
There are the sportsmen, the hikers, the extreme sportsmen, the nature lovers, the participants of expeditions or vacationers who want to further educate themselves. The theme of the countryside and the tourist who wants to experience the countryside ran like a red thread through the seminar in the environmental education center. It is clear that without an intact nature, a region becomes uninteresting for tourism.
The integration of nature conservation and agriculture is necessary in order to make ecology and sustainability tangible in tourism. The tourist should not only be considered as a consumer, but should also get an insight into production processes. "This is the only way we can really communicate the topic of sustainability in a sustainable way", emphasized meyer. By involving tourists in the everyday and practical issues of nature conservation, it is hoped that the topics will be passed on beyond the vacation and the vacation region. In addition, the aim is to create a bond with the region so that the one-time visitor becomes a "repeat offender" becomes a "repeat offender".
What was exemplified by a region such as the rhon can basically be transferred to any other region, says meyer. How to organize a vacation region? How to coordinate the expectations of the players on site? Every destination has different requirements, whether a biosphere reserve or a national park, whether a city or a world cultural heritage site. National laws must also be taken into account. "Methodically it doesn’t matter if it’s the sahara or a low mountain range." Due to its complexity, the rhon is particularly well suited to serve as an example for an international seminar.
Three federal states, five counties and the many municipalities, three biosphere reserve administrations, these are challenges that are exemplary for many countries. "It was interesting to hear how these conditions are dealt with in everyday life", says meyer. The heads of the three administrative offices michael geier, thorsten raab and karl-friedrich abe, the managing director of bayerische tourismus gmbh, michael pfaff, and other regional stakeholders presented the work in the region from their perspective. In excursions to the black moor, the wasserkuppe, point alpha and the rhonschafer kolb to ginolfs, among other places, the participants saw for themselves how tourism and nature conservation go hand in hand in the rhon.