Destination Flyways – Turning one billion tourists into one billion opportunities to protect the world’s original long-distance travellers

flyways2_black-green_small-238x254In 2012, a record one billion tourists crossed international borders – a true milestone in international travel and a clear sign of the strength of the tourism sector. Destination Flyways project channels this strength into a force for global biodiversity conservation and enhanced livelihoods for local communities by creating a network of sustainable and resilient destinations.


Each year, millions of migratory birds set out to travel the world, flying along the same routes, also known as flyways. Spanning continents and oceans and used by a myriad of bird species, the flyways represent one of the most spectacular and valuable assets of the world’s natural heritage.

During their travels, migratory birds depend upon a chain of vital sites for breeding, staging and wintering. Due to their natural values, these sites are often managed under different conservation schemes but also endowed with great tourism potential. However, external pressures continue to grow, representing a threat for migratory birds, key habitats and the ecosystem services that they provide. Destination Flyways uses an innovative approach to promote and enhance their conservation.

By providing a framework for sustainable tourism management and diversifying the tourism venues along the flyways, Destination Flyways will generate revenue for improved management of biodiversity and spread the benefits of tourism to local communities, while creating attractive experiences for tourists.

This project is led by the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) and key partners include EAAFP, UNEP, CMS, AEWA, Ramsar, CBD,  UNESCO, BirdLife International Wetlands International and IUCN. With their sound experiences with in this field of conservation and tourism, these organisations have joined forces to implement the Destination Flyways project. The project is designed  to develop biodiversity-related tourism products in selected locations of important migratory bird flyways. The two sites has been selected for EAAF out of a total of eight sites in Central Europe, Central and East Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Australia. The names of each site will be announced later. The key objectives are (1) enhanced conservation of key habitats and species, (2) enhanced local livelihoods, (3) tourism promoting sustainability and behavioural change and (4) effective implementation of Multilateral Environmental Agreements.

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