Managers of marine protected areas trained on sustainable tourism

07 March 2007 | News story

Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), areas of sea dedicated to the protection and maintenance of biodiversity and of natural and associated cultural resources, are often areas of extraordinary natural beauty.  They may contain unique geological, biological or physical features, may have high levels of biodiversity, and may be enhanced by rich cultural settings.  Because MPAs are attractions for all of these reasons, they are increasingly drawing attention from tourists. With this increase in tourism activities and associated impacts, however, MPAs must be careful to develop integrated and preemptive planning for sustainable tourism into their management strategies in order to continue to effectively protect and manage the marine systems of each site.  Well-designed sustainable tourism can provide alternate sources of income to communities and promotes conservation of the very resources which MPAs seek to protect.

To ensure that tourism activities in the South China Sea impact MPAs in a positive way, the MPA Management Capacity Building Training Pilot Project recently held a training on sustainable tourism.   From 6-11 December, 2006, representatives from the U.S. National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) joined international sustainable tourism experts to conduct a 6-day course for 36 managers and MPA staff representing southern China, Viet Nam, and Cambodia.  From Viet Nam, representatives from Bai Tu Long National Park, Ha Long Bay World Heritage Site, Cat Ba National Park, Cu Lao Cham MPA, Con Chim Marine Sanctuary, Nha Trang Bay MPA, and Con Dao National Park attended.

The interactive training was organized around modules which focused on 6 topical areas: sustainable tourism concepts, sustainable tourism impact assessment, managing visitor impacts, the tourism industry, site planning and zoning, and education and outreach.  The training curriculum (500 pages) was also produced in the Vietnamese language. One of the training’s significant outcomes was that by the end of the week, all MPA managers and staff who attended had developed specific sustainable tourism plans for the MPA they represented.   

The training was supported by NOAA, the Ministry of Fisheries (MoFI), Conservation International, and IUCN Viet Nam through the Sida framework agreement.  A follow-up training for MPA managers and staff on sustainable fisheries, MPA certification and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) will be held in 2007.   

For more information, please contact Ms. Bui Thi Thu Hien, Marine and Coastal Programme Manager, at hien@iucn.org.vn or +(84) 4 726-1575 ext. 123.


This image shows the courtship behavior of Indian Bull frogs (Holobatrachus tigerinus). During the monsoon, the breeding males become bright yellow in color, while females remain dull. The prominent blue vocal sacs of male produce strong nasal mating call.