Calendar » Strengthening Sharing of Benefits from Tourism with Local Communities

Strengthening Sharing of Benefits from Tourism with Local Communities

August 27, 2022 | 9:00 AM |


Tourism in protected areas can generate benefits for local communities living around them, supporting local development and strengthening their collaboration in biodiversity conservation. To share the benefits of tourism with local people, benefit-sharing arrangements have been established across the world by public authorities, private businesses, communities, and NGO partners. These have provided a range of tangible and intangible benefits to communities. But without effective design and implementation, even established mechanisms may fail to deliver and threaten the premise of sustainable and inclusive tourism.

This webinar will discuss benefit-sharing models, challenges and opportunities, and recommendations to strengthen these complex arrangements. Diverse models of tourism initiatives that are benefiting local communities will be highlighted to improve the impact of global protected area tourism.

Watch the video in English

Opening Remarks:

Genevieve Connors, Practice Manager, Environment, Natural Resources, and Blue Environment, Latin America and Caribbean Region, World Bank


Anna Spenceley, Chair, IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA) Tourism and Protected Areas Specialist Group (TAPAS Group)

Phonesuck Inthavong, Ecotourism Head, Nam Et-Phou Louey National Park, Lao PDR

Vanice Mirembe, Manager, Awareness & Human-Wildlife Conflict, Uganda Wildlife Authority

Mayra Castellanos, Tourism Professional, Heart of the Amazon Project, Cerro Azul, Colombia

Adam Thalhath, Sustainability Manager & Community Outreach Manager, Six Senses Laamu, Maldives

Shaha Hashim, Maldives Project Manager, Blue Marine Foundation


Genevieve Connors is Practice Manager for Environment, Natural Resources, and the Blue Economy in the Latin America and Caribbean Region, World Bank. Prior to this, she was the Practice Manager for Advisory and Operations in the Climate Change Group, where she oversaw tracking and reporting of climate mainstreaming and climate finance in World Bank operations since 2017. From 2014-2017 she was the Program Leader for Water and Sustainability in the India Country Office, and was based in New Delhi, where she worked on operations and analytical work in the Bank’s sustainability sectors, including water, environment, agriculture, rural development, disaster management and climate change. From 2013-2015, she supervised the implementation of the National Ganga River Basin Project, the $1 billion loan to the Government of India to support cleaning of the Ganges River. She has a B.A. from Columbia, a M.Phil. from Cambridge, and a Ph.D from MIT.

Anna Spenceley is Chair of the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA) Tourism and Protected Areas Specialist Group (TAPAS Group). An international tourism expert with over 20 years of experience, Anna sits on the board of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council and the Independent Advisory Panel of Travalyst. She is the editor of the Handbook for Sustainable Tourism Practitioners: The Essential Toolbox, co-author of Private Sector Tourism in Conservation Areas in Africa, and co-editor of the books Tourism and Poverty Reduction, Responsible Tourism: Critical issues for Conservation and Development, and Evolution and Innovation in Wildlife Conservation. She also co-edited the IUCN Best Practice Guidelines on "Tourism and Visitor Management in Protected Areas."

Phonesuck Inthavong has been the ecotourism head of Nam Et-Phou Louey National Park (NEPL NP) since 2020 – one of largest and most biodiverse protected areas in Lao PDR. He joined the NEPL NP team in 2019 and during his first year worked with the Law Enforcement Unit and the Livelihood and Outreach team, and closely assisted the development of NEPL NP’s Management Plan and Strategy 2022-2031. Phonesuck holds a degree in Forest Resource Management and served in the District Forestry Inspection office for six years.

Mayra Castellanos is a Tourism Professional in the GEF-funded, World Bank-led Heart of the Amazon Project, Colombia. She is experienced in the development of planning exercises and tourism management as a conservation strategy in areas of special environmental importance, with an emphasis on ecotourism and heritage interpretation. Mayra spent four years with the National Parks System of Colombia in Chingaza National Natural Park. In her current position in the Heart of the Amazon Project, she supports sectoral programs for sustainable landscape management through the planning and management of nature-based tourism in Serranía La Lindosa-Angosturas II and other priority areas in the Guaviare-Colombia department.

Adam Thalhath is Six Senses Laamu’s (Maldives) Sustainability & Community Outreach Manager. From 2015 – 2018 he was the assistant project manager for Manta Trust, an NGO Six Senses Laamu supports to study manta ray populations and habitats in Laamu Atoll.  As a researcher and an educator, he developed the marine education program Hello Hallu (Hello Solution in the local language Dhivehi) with the collaboration of local schools. Keen to expand his reach and tackle issues on land as well as underwater, he developed the role of Education & Community Outreach Manager for Six Senses Laamu and has since been promoted to the resort’s Sustainability & Community Outreach Manager.

Shaha Hashim is the Field Project Manager for Blue Marine’s Maldives project, based in Laamu Atoll. Prior to joining BLUE in 2016, she worked with UN Agencies for eight years in various project management roles. Her current role requires supporting scientific studies and community engagement for the protection of Laamu’s biodiversity, including grouper spawning sites, seagrass, mangroves, and coral reefs. She played an instrumental role in protecting Six Senses Laamu's seagrass meadows and other resorts in the Maldives through #protectmaldivesseagrass campaign. Shaha has provided strategic direction to conservation activities in the atoll and has overseen several environmental campaigns.


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