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While there is a growing worldwide interest in low-footprint, nature-based tourism experiences, the negative impacts of unplanned and rapid tourism development are being felt in the Coral Triangle.

This is why we must prioritize the protection of marine and coastal tourism spots that are of high conservation value.

Fiji is famous throughout the world for spectacularly rich and vibrant soft coral reefs, which provide havens and food sources for thousands of species of fish and invertebrates.

© WWF / Cat Holloway

Low impact, high value 

WWF is working with the private sector through public-private partnerships in tourism developments, showcasing energy and water efficiency, effective waste management, new technologies, and responsible interaction with iconic marine species such as sharks and turtles.

In the spirit of collaborative management, private sector stewardship is nurtured for sustained productivity, and tourism operators are encouraged to help manage Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and high-conservation-value areas through best practices and financial mechanisms.

Transforming an industry

WWF is working to promote responsible tourism in the Coral Triangle in the following areas:

Creating a network of MPAs in the Coral Triangle helps to protect high-conservation-value areas on a larger, more interconnected scale.

Using lessons learned from the experiences of different national programmes, WWF is helping craft policies and advocacy and communications products to push for the establishment of even more MPAs—not just to support local fisheries, but to preserve the beauty and diversity that draw tourists to an area and provides social and economic benefits to local communities and resource owners. 

WWF is starting to work with cruise ship companies in the region to help reduce the vessels’ impacts on coastal and marine environments, and to raise awareness among their customers on marine issues, and encouraging investment in protecting critical marine environments.

This collaboration will help address marine habitat degradation due to high shipping traffic, pollution, climate change (resulting from carbon emission, and leading to rising ocean temperatures), supply chain impacts, and unsustainable consumption of marine products.

The ‘Developing and Promoting Sustainable Nature Based Tourism in the Coral Triangle’ aims to present business opportunities and a case for conservation of marine ecosystems for the development and promotion of a nature-based, low-impact tourism brand to Coral Triangle governments and the private sector.

Carried out in collaboration with Australian Aid, this effort will promote national green and blue economies in the region, and provide both coastal communities and the private sector with strong incentives to aspire for sustainable marine tourism.  

Natural wonders: Sustainable tourism efforts in the Coral Triangle

The Coral Triangle Multimedia Network 
The Coral Triangle - Amazon of the oceans

Learn more about the Coral Triangle through words, pictures and videos from the Coral Triangle website - Amazon of the Oceans

Tubbataha Reef Natural Park - Philippines

Located in the Sulu Sea, southern Philippines, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a recently declared ASEAN Heritage Park. The park is considered the country’s premier scuba-diving destination. As an MPA, Tubbataha, which covers over 97,000 ha of reefs, attracts tourists from all over the world on live-aboard dive trips, while helping support the nearby municipality of Cagayancillo.
Tubbataha Surface

© Gregg Yan

Wakatobi National Park - Indonesia

The Wakatobi National Park was established in 1996, and covering 1.39 million ha, it is one of the highest priorities for marine conservation in Indonesia. It also forms part of a vast network of interconnected MPAs located on the southeastern coast of Sulawesi. WWF help develop the park’s management plan in 2002. 
Wakatobi fishermen that go far out at sea, stay at night in a huma (bahasa name) for a rest and to dry their fish. Wakatobi Marine National Park (Gift to the Earth, part of 1,3 million hectares of Protected Areas set aside by Indonesia). Southeast Sulawesi, Indonesia

© Jikkie Jonkman / WWF-CANON

Donsol Bay - Philippines

Donsol Bay, in the Philippine province of Sorsogon, attracts huge numbers of whale sharks. WWF supports local community groups in operating a successful ecotourism venture around whale shark tourism. The majestic creature, known locally as butanding, has provided a steady source of income for the community, and is now zealously protected by the locals.
Whale shark swimming with divers

© Jürgen Freund/WWF

Shark Reef - Fiji

Shark Reef, a community-driven, locally managed MPA in Fiji, was established for shark conservation, and as part of a shark dive tourist operation. Beqa Adventure Divers is helping manage the MPA, and has worked with the Fiji government to turn Shark Reef into the country’s first fully protected national marine park. Divers pay a fee that goes directly to the local communities, money that offsets any losses from subsistence fishing, supports education for villagers, and builds community infrastructure.
A white tip reef shark (Triaenodon obesus ) swimming in Beqa lagoon, Fiji. Shark diving and feeding is becoming a popular tourist activity off Beqa lagoon not too far from Suva, capital city of Fiji. There is regular shark feeding at this venue. Suva, Fiji

© Brent Stirton / Getty Images


The three Pacific countries in the Coral Triangle are part of the Developing and Promoting Sustainable Nature-based Tourism in the Coral Triangle project, which is an initiative being implemented by WWF through funding from the government of Australia. The initiative is looking to assist these countries to develop and/or accelerate a long-term approach to more sustainable nature-based tourism in the region, allowing for economic benefits to flow to communities, governments and private enterprise, providing a strong incentive to protect and sustain the Coral Triangle’s natural environment.
Dolphins dance and frolic in the shimmering blue waters of the Solomon Islands 
© WWF Pacific
Dolphins dance and frolic in the shimmering blue waters of the Solomon Islands
© WWF Pacific