Tourists support conservation of primeval Bialowieza Forest | WWF

Tourists support conservation of primeval Bialowieza Forest

Posted on
06 April 2001
Bialowieza, Poland - The conservation organization WWF, in co-operation with the PAN Parks Organization, today launched a new project enabling tourists to help preserve the endangered primeval forest of Bialowieza National Park (Poland) by booking a green adventure on-line via http://www.poland.panparks.org The project PAN Parks Gateway to Bialowieza aims to build local support for conservation in Bialowieza National Park, through sustainable tourism promotion. Sustainable tourism, as implemented under the Principles and Criteria of WWF's PAN Parks project, offers the opportunity to inject economic value in to the park region, and mitigate the conservation threats facing the Bialowieza Forest. "PAN Parks Gateway to Bialowieza signifies the start of a new model relationship for tourism and conservation in Bialowieza and protected areas across Europe," explained Vladivoj Vancura of PAN Parks. "WWF and PAN Parks recognise the pressing need to proactively deal with tourism so that it does not imply a threat to conservation, but can rather create new opportunities for conservation based on long term partnerships between all stakeholders." PAN Parks Gateway to Bialowieza directly promotes the tourism services of PAN Park partners in the national park region, who in their turn support the conservation objectives advanced by PAN Parks and WWF. PAN Parks has provided fax machines to PAN Park partners to facilitate online booking, and as well has offered partners English language training. PAN Parks has also improved the quality of park tourism facilities by sponsoring the construction of a visitors observation tower. WWF and PAN Parks have been active in Bialowieza National Park since 1998 promoting sustainable regional development supportive of conservation of the Bialowieza Forest region. "Bialowieza National Park stands as a natural heritage site of European importance, but is in great need of increased public and political support," stated Ireneusz Chojnacki WWF Poland Director. "The WWF PAN Parks project is a tool which can generate support for park conservation on a local, national and international level by promoting the region as a unique and attractive tourism destination." The long-term working objective of PAN Parks is to build support amongst all stakeholders for the full certification of Bialowieza National Park as a PAN Park, expected by 2011. The PAN Parks project aims to develop a European network of best-managed wilderness protected areas which promotes sustainable tourism as a tool for strengthened nature conservation. For further information: Chris Hogan, PAN Parks Communications Officer, mobile:+36 30 251 2611, email: chogan@panparks.org Stefan Jakimiuk, WWF Bialowieza Project Office, mobile: +48 606 85 67 77, email: sjakimiuk@wwf.pl