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Department of Zoology


A new study out yesterday found that many nations throughout the world, including the United Kingdom, are seeing an annual increase in visitors to their conservation areas.

The research, published in the journal PLoS Biology, found that in 15 of the 20 countries for which information was available there was an increase in the number of visitors to their nature reserves. This has important implications for nations who are reliant on nature-related tourism to generate funds for conservation, and is encouraging news for those concerned about public interest in nature.

Professor Andrew Balmford, Professor of Conservation Science and lead author of the study said: “Nature-based tourism is one of the most tangible benefits that people derive from conserving biodiversity. Unfortunately it is often remarkably poorly quantified. When a study based on visit rates to American and Japanese nature reserves last year showed these were declining, it prompted widespread concerns that the public was falling out of love with nature. However, this report refutes this contention.”

A Global Perspective on Trends in Nature-Based Tourism, PloS Biology, 29 June 2009

Further coverage - University of Cambridge News
National Park Attendance Rising in Poorer Countries, Discovery Channel, 16 July 2009