Securing the Future of Nature-based Tourism in Africa: A Collaborative Platform

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The Covid-19 pandemic has created multiple disruptions to the way society works: the near total suspension of global travel is one of these. Where global tourism revenues have been helping to deliver biodiversity conservation and local livelihoods, the pandemic has dramatically altered the trajectory of many local economies.

It is no exaggeration to say that the collapse of wildlife tourism threatens to compromise decades of development and conservation work in nature-rich and emblematic parts of Africa. It has also made the frailty of nature conservation and livelihoods dependent on nature-based tourism increasingly apparent. How can we regain what we have lost while building a more resilient future, looking beyond tourism, for people and nature conservation in Africa?

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May 2020

Watch the video from the 20 May 2020 convening


June 2020

The Luc Hoffmann Institute invests USD 175,000 into the design process for the Collaborative Platform. The institute works with WWF-US, the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and a range of stakeholders to develop a Medium-sized Project (MSP) proposal for funding to support the further development.

July 2020

USD 1.9m funding is secured from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) for implementation by WWF-US. WWF-US becomes the formal executing agency for the grant, but consultations are underway with African-based organisations to identify a host that will provide the Secretariat and lead the Platform.

August 2020

The Luc Hoffmann Institute, in collaboration with WWF-US, designs a detailed concept for submission to the GEF for consideration. This intensive process involves the establishment of a clear theory of change and a draft schematic plan to implement the whole initiative. Additional stakeholder consultations take place to develop and strengthen the Collaborative Platform.

September 2020

Commitments of USD 5,269,281 in co-financing received from: the MAVA Foundation, African Safari Foundation, Fauna & Flora International (FFI), the Frankfurt Zoological Society, Maliasili, Resource Africa, Royal African Safaris, The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and the UN Development Programme (UNDP). This funding serves to immediately unlock the GEF-allocated funds.

October – December 2020

The Luc Hoffmann Institute and WWF-US work on the project document for the GEF, in this final stage of incubation for the Collaborative Platform. WWF-US submits this to the GEF in December 2020. The WWF Regional Office for Africa is confirmed as the host secretariat for the project.


© Nathaniel Quansah / WWF

The goal is to amplify existing fundraising efforts and support the activities of community stakeholders who are the custodians of the landscapes and wildlife, and upon whom successful tourism activities depend.

Timeline ends here

Related resources

Developing a platform for sustaining conservation and communities in Africa 
The initial proposal for the African Collaborative Platform, drafted by the Luc Hoffmann Institute and discussed at the 20 May 2020 convening.  

COVID-19 and Conservation
A March 2020 blog post by Luc Hoffmann Institute Advisory Council member Bill Adams in his series Thinking like a human which inspired the institute’s COVID-19 response. 

COVID 19 and sustainable tourism: Information resources and links
A collection of resources by Dr Anna Spenceley including ideas to help resilience and recovery, market research and intelligence, impacts on tourism and destinations, virtual tours and ideas to keep us inspired, and more. 

Innovative business models for life on Earth
A Luc Hoffmann Institute thought leadership initiative pointing to possible new ways to sustain conservation and livelihoods. The initiative contributes to the third stream of the Collaborative Platform by helping to source longer-term measures to improve the resilience of African conservation strategies.

Building Back Better: a Marshall Plan for Natural Capital (external document)
A plan on reversing the decline in Sub-Saharan African GDP in Nature-Based Tourism Sector from COVID-19

Editorial Essay: COVID-19 and Protected and Conserved Areas (external document)
This special editorial provides a snapshot of how protected and conserved areas around the world are being impacted by COVID-19. For many protected and conserved areas, negative impacts on management capacity, budgets and effectiveness are significant, as are impacts on the livelihoods of communities living in and around these areas.

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