Has the pandemic had any positive impact on tourism? Legendary conservationist Dr Jane Goodall thinks that when it comes to wildlife tourism, the pandemic has created an opportunity to “reset.” Speaking to G Adventures for their ‘Retravel Live: Wildlife deserve a Wild Life’, Dr Goodall answered questions about the role travel needs to play to ensure these beautiful creatures live the life they deserve.
The Secret to Sustainable Tourism? It Needs to be Controlled
She added: “It’s very fortunate there’s this pause and rethinking, and I think it had begun before the pandemic; some companies realised we need to do things differently.
“As the world got wealthier and more people started to travel, they were destroying the world by sheer numbers. Culturally and environmentally, travel was going wrong.
“One of the things to avoid is more people – the secret is tourism that is controlled. The number of people that are allowed in, and how long they can stay, and that is tough, but it has to be.”
Responsible Tourism is Good for Animal Conservation
Dr. Goodall believes that when people travel and observe wildlife correctly, they’re helping animal conservation in three important ways:
“One, it takes foreign exchange in, so the central government is happy. Two, it helps to pay the staff and the rangers who can actually protect the animals. Three, there’s no question that the people who go on these tours come back with a passion for helping conservation … So responsible tourism is something that’s necessary and important.”
While the lack of tourism in 2020 due to COVID-19 has had some positive effects on wildlife, Dr. Goodall believes a couple of key factors have led to an increase in poaching.
“Well, certainly in some places, the lack of tourism indeed has led to increased poaching, in two ways. One, the government or the national parks haven’t got the revenue coming in from tourism to actually pay the rangers who are there to look after the animals. And so, the international cartels can come swooping in and kill an elephant or a rhino with very little opposition … But the other problem is local people were being paid by tourism: as guides, or in hotels and lodges. And they’re not being paid anymore. And so they’re going into the parks and poaching animals, just simply to keep alive, to eat.”
You Can Watch the Full Discussion with Jane Goodall Below:
To find out more about G Adventures’ Jane Goodall Collection of wildlife-focused tours, see here.