The Nature Conservancy is using the latest crowdsourcing and data mapping techniques to quantify for the first time the total and local value of the world’s reefs to tourism, in the hope that national governments where reefs play a significant role will do what it takes to protect an industry that brings in vital international investment, provides food sources for millions of people, and protects the world’s coasts from storm damage.
They have found that each year 72 million trips are supported by the world’s coral reefs, which represent an economic value of $38 billion. Now they plan to expand their methods out to measure other forms of nature-based tourism. Those working to prove the value of sustainable tourism have long sought to get solid figures to back up their arguments. Thanks to groundbreaking work of the Nature Conservancy, they may not have much longer to wait.