Wetlands are home to some of the richest biodiversity on the planet and the ecosystem services they provide play an essential role in sustainable development impacting directly the lives of millions of people worldwide, most especially the poor, who depend on the essential ecosystem services wetlands provide.

In recognition of the interdependence between sustainable tourism and the conservation and sustainable management of wetlands, in February 2010, UN Tourism signed a Memorandum of Cooperation with the Secretariat of the Convention on Wetlands. The enhanced cooperation between both organizations will facilitate the development of project proposals and joint initiatives aimed at reinforcing the role of wetlands and their biodiversity ecosystems for sustainable tourism development.

Within this framework, UN Tourism, thanks to the financial contribution of the Ramsar Convention Secretariat, is implementing a project on Development of Ornithological Tourism to reduce poverty in the “W” Regional Park of Benin, Burkina Faso and Niger. This is a major national park in West Africa which has been included in the list of Wetlands of International Importance of the Ramsar Convention. This initiative is included in the portfolio of projects under the ST-EP initiative.

Coasts and Islands

Despite the diversification of the global tourism market and the growing importance of special interest forms of tourism, coastal and beach tourism is still the dominant segment in terms of number of tourists. Coastal and island destinations experience an increasing pressure on their natural and cultural resources, due to the ever increasing demand and tourists activities that are highly concentrated in time and space (seasonality, infrastructure and tourism operations in a narrow coastal zone). Therefore, UN Tourism has been promoting tourism development as part of Integrated Coastal Zone Management practices, through international and regional collaboration, technical cooperation, research and capacity building activites.

For detailed information visit Tourism and Small Islands Developing States (SIDS)


On the occasion of the the United Nations Conference on Small Islands Developing States, held in Apia, Samoa, from 1 to 4 September 2014, UN Tourism launched the Leaflet "Tourism in SIDS / Building a more sustainable future for the people of Islands". 

In 2012, UN Tourism launched the publication "Challenges and Opportunities for Tourism Development in Small Island Developing States". This publication presents an overview of the status of tourism in Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and draws together and updates a wide range of evidence on tourism performance and impacts and on the factors affecting the future development of the sector in SIDS, and provides policy orientations, guidelines and other tools to the various tourism stakeholders in SIDS on how to address these challenges and develop and manage tourism in a sustainable manner for the benefit of their population.

The publication "Awards for improving the coastal environment: The example of Blue Flag" was produced jointly with the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) and the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) in 1997 to disseminate the Blue Flag Programme in non-European countries. Today, The Blue Flag campaign has expanded to the Caribbean, South Africa and other regions. UN Tourism is actively collaborating in this process, and is also a Member of the Blue Flag International Jury.
For more details visit: http://www.blueflag.org