Dozens of the world’s biggest travel and tourism companies have signed a pledge to fight the illegal trade of wildlife.
The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) launched its new initiative on Thursday (April 19), with specific guidance for agents, tour operators, airlines and cruise lines.
The so-called Buenos Aires Declaration aims to set out proactive action the sector can take to address the trade.
Signatories include Thomas Cook, Tui, Royal Caribbean, Abercrombie & Kent, Emirates, Marriott, Intrepid and Silversea Cruises.
Gloria Guevara, WTTC president and chief executive, said: “This new initiative aims to ensure our sector is fully engaged in the fight against illegal wildlife trade.
“Wildlife tourism is a significant generator of income for communities around the world, particularly in least developed countries and the illegal wildlife trade puts at risk not only the biodiversity of our world, but also the livelihoods of these communities.”
The declaration’s four key pillars are: expression and demonstration of agreement to tackle the illegal wildlife trade; promotion of responsible wildlife-based tourism; raising awareness among customers, staff and trade networks; and engaging with local communities and investing locally.
Specific tenets include selling only wildlife products that are legal and sustainably sourced and meet CITES requirements; promoting only responsible wildlife-based tourism; training staff to detect, identify and report suspected illegal trade in wildlife; and educating consumers as to how they can tackle the problem, including by not buying illegal or unsustainably sourced wildlife products.
At its core, the declaration is about promoting the benefit of wildlife tourism and ensuring it positively impacts local communities, while creating sustainable livelihoods for those who live and work in these destinations and encouraging investment in infrastructure, communities and people.