Ecotourism takes off in Armenia

04 November 2013 | News story

IUCN Member Foundation for the Preservation of Wildlife and Cultural Assets (FPWC) announces a sustainable tourism project in partnership with the tour operator Go Barefoot in order to help protect the biodiversity of the Southern Caucasus. Armenia's nature and biodiversity are presented in this month's IUCN Europe Country Focus.  

The 2012 UN Earth Summit and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) identified tourism as a key sector to achieve sustainable development and a greener economy by channeling investments for energy and water efficiency, climate-change mitigation, waste reduction, the conservation of biodiversity and cultural heritage, plus, the strengthening of links with local cultures.

Sustainable tourism as a nature-based solution helps preserve the environment while improving the well-being of local people. This new way of travelling is about uniting conservation, communities, and sustainable travel by minimizing impacts, building environmental and cultural awareness and respect, and providing direct financial benefits for conservation and local communities.

In this context, FPWC will collaborate with the UK-based sustainable travel operator Go Barefoot to launch a new ecotourism project which aims to be a model for similar initiatives across the Caucasus.

The partnering organisations have developed ecologically and culturally oriented experiences that highlight the region’s beauty, traditions, history, and challenges. The proposed itineraries focus around FPWC’s Caucasus Wildlife Refuge, a 2000 hectares private protected area in the vicinity of Khosrov Forest State Reserve supported by the IUCN NL. The project uses tourism as a tool to ensure the conservation of its biodiversity, including the Caucasian Leopard, and the ongoing development of a new eco-training centre for local community. This partnership also aims at offering local people with new working opportunities linked to tourism, hospitality, and conservation.

Read more about Armenia and learn about the efforts of IUCN Members working there.