Skip to content

Global Ocean Refuge Partner Spotlight: Linking Tourism & Conservation

This Global Ocean Refuge System Partner Spotlight Features Linking Tourism & Conservation!


Linking Tourism & Conservation (LT&C), a non-profit organization focused on sustainably financing protected areas through tourism, just celebrated its 5th anniversary. Based in Norway, LT&C is building a global network of protected area examples showing how tourism can successfully finance management.

The LT&C team which recently met to celebrate the organization’s 5th anniversary and outline its strategy beyond 2020

LT&C was launched by the question, “What if tourism could save the world’s protected areas?” LT&C-penguins (the organization’s members) from all over the world are marching together to achieve the goal of financing conservation through tourism. They do this because:

  • the annual cost for effective management of a complete global network of protected areas (as the UN aims to achieve by 2020) is estimated to be less than 0.5% of annual world tourism turnover;
  •  more than 50% of all tourists visiting a foreign country make use of protected natural areas in some way, and nature-based tourism is increasing most rapidly;
  • only the existing national parks produce an annual global revenue of 600 billion US$ for tourism-, real estate and other businesses. Giving back only 5% of this sum would secure a globally complete network of protected areas (the UN goal for 2020).

Distribution map of LT&C Penguins (members)

LT&C is based on the compelling idea that tourism, the industry that benefits so much from protected natural areas, can play the most critical role in ensuring that the UN goal of a complete, representative and well-managed global network of protected areas (17% on land and 10% marine) will be achieved by 2020.

LT&C profiles and facilitates knowledge, experience and effective practices of tourism supporting protected areas (LT&C-Examples), and promotes such examples for replication.

LT&C Examples (blue=marine; green= terrestrial)

We asked why Linking Tourism & Conservation became a Global Ocean Refuge partner:


“LT&C believes that the the Global Ocean Refuge System is an excellent way to award the world’s leading examples of well-managed marine protected areas (MPA). Thereby it creates an incentive for others to improve their MPAs or even establish new ones. Its standards go well above what the UN goal for 2020 to protect 10% of oceans and coasts stands for and thereby may have an influence on much more ambitious post-2020 targets of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). LT&C, in its mission for tourism to have a key role in supporting a global protected area network, covers both terrestrial and marine areas, but puts particular emphasis on MPAs. As for the UN target on marine areas there is more to do before it is achieved. Therefore, the Marine Conservation Institute with its Global Ocean Refuge System is an ideal partner. In general, LT&C looks forward to strengthening relationships with its partners to achieve higher levels of synergy. Together with the Global Ocean Refuge System, LT&C will be able to identify many more LT&C-Examples of tourism supporting high-standard MPAs. LT&C very much looks forward to a successful partnership with the Global Refuge System, working towards achieving common goals.”

Chumbe Island Coral Park, which is both an LT&C-Example and a Global Ocean Refuge