WTTC publishes guidelines for the prevention of illegal wildlife trade

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WTTC publishes guidelines for the prevention of illegal wildlife trade
Source: WTTC
Thu July 15, 2021

The illicit market is valued at between $ 8 billion and $ 23 billion per year. The pandemic led to a significant decrease in funding for conservation and an increase in poaching activities

The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) has published important new guidelines outlining how the global travel and tourism sector can work together to address the illegal wildlife trade (IWT).

The new guidelines from WTTC, representing the global private travel and tourism sector, supported by Animondial, a key adviser to the global travel industry on animal welfare in tourism, aim to help interpret the '12 commitments' of his revolutionary Buenos Aires Declaration.

The statement, which was released at the WTTC Global Summit in Argentina, showed how coordinated engagement and action can combat the illegal wildlife trade (IWT) and unveiled its Zero Tolerance Policy.

According to the guidelines, travelers often participate, albeit unknowingly, in the illicit movement of animals, plants, products made from them, and wild species that are threatened, endangered, and protected by national or international law. 

Tourism thrives in all corners of the world. But the challenge is balancing tourism with fragile environments where wildlife is at risk and animals are kept and exploited in captivity.

And as the demand for the legal trade in wildlife and its products increases, so does the IWT. This illicit market is valued at between a staggering US $ 8 billion and US $ 23 billion per year, with more than 38,000 species of plants and animals threatened by overexploitation and extinction. However, wildlife is worth more alive than dead, which requires us to act. 

Virginia Messina, Senior Vice President of WTTC, said: “The World Travel and Tourism Council and its members are determined to help in the fight to eradicate the scourge of the illegal wildlife trade.

“As an industry, Travel & Tourism has a responsibility to tackle this appalling activity that causes misery to countless animals, putting species and entire ecosystems at risk.

"We believe that these new guidelines will help companies around the world in their fight against this corrupt and shameful practice, and we renew and reinforce our commitment made for the first time in the Buenos Aires Declaration that changed the WTTC game."

John Scanlon, President of the Global Initiative to End Wildlife Crime, said: “It is great that the travel and tourism industry has joined the global fight against the illegal wildlife trade, recognizing how it can protect wildlife. wildlife at its source and help curb demand. But, what's even better, is that it didn't stop with the Declaration. 

"Despite the COVID-19 disruption, the World Travel and Tourism Council has worked with the signatories to implement its terms, and is now issuing practical implementation guidance through its new guidelines."

However, despite the support of many Travel & Tourism companies in the protection of endangered animal and plant species, much more can be done to increase the support of the sector in this fight.

The guidelines show that Travel & Tourism plays and can continue to play a critical role in helping to address the IWT. 

Unfortunately, widespread travel bans and restrictions imposed during the COVID-19 pandemic led to a significant decrease in funding for conservation efforts and an increase in poaching activities. Anti-poaching programs have been starved of funds for the past 18 months.

Therefore, WTTC is committed to spearheading the push for travel and tourism businesses around the world to adopt policies and practices to help eradicate IWTs. 

By adopting a shared responsibility to address the IWT and subscribing to the WTTC Buenos Aires Declaration and the WTTC-WWF Zero Tolerance Policy, the global travel and tourism sector can commit to responsible and sustainable wildlife-based tourism activities. , to contribute to the preservation of wildlife.

The latest WTTC guidelines include:
Tour operators and travel agents: 

  • Adopt the principles upheld by ABTA's Animal Welfare Guidelines, promoting responsible travel and tourism activities with animals, respectful wildlife observation practices and improved welfare standards (including no direct human-initiated contact with wild animals or the feeding these)
  • Discourage providers from sourcing animals from the wild unless there is a demonstrable and justifiable conservation need. Consult national laws, the animal list, CITES * permits and the CITES Management Authority of the respective national government.
  • Hosting providers:
  • Adopt the principles upheld by ABTA's Animal Welfare Guidelines, promoting responsible animal travel and tourism activities, respectful wildlife observation practices, and improved standards of welfare (including human-initiated non-direct contact with wild animals and feeding these)
  • The trade, breeding or exploitation of animals, including inhabited animals or "pets" that may be accommodated in or in the vicinity of the hotel, hostel or venue, are prohibited.

Transport providers:

  • Join the United Working Group for Wildlife Transportation, the WTTC Buenos Aires Declaration on Illegal Wildlife Trade and the related IWT Zero Tolerance Policy, and work with ROUTES to implement the commitments.
  • Airlines should collaborate with industry associations, including the International Air Transport Association (IATA), guided by their Live Animals Regulations (LAR), and with the wildlife trafficking task force to support action by the entire industry.

* Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.


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