Sea Turtle Friendly™ Tourism
The Sea Turtle Friendly™ Tourism standards were developed based on best practices established by the Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Conservation Network (WIDECAST) and with input from sea turtle conservation practitioners and stakeholders around the world. The Sea Turtle Friendly™ certification program is managed by the Wildlife Friendly Enterprise Network.
There are seven species of Sea Turtles in the world and all are at risk due to five major human-caused threats: 1) Fisheries Impacts; 2) Direct Take; 3) Coastal Development; 4) Pollution and Disease; and 5) Climate Change, according to the IUCN Marine Turtle Specialist Group. Many factors are contributing to a decline in the sea turtle population, including turtle hunting, collection of eggs for food and trade, illegal fishing, unsustainable fishing methods, civil conflict and weak law enforcement. Poorly planned beach development, lighting choices, and recreation – mainly provided for the benefit of the tourism industry – often interfere with turtle nesting and are a source of mortality.
By partnering with local communities, the travel and hospitality industry, and on-the-ground conservation partners like the Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Conservation Network (WIDECAST), Sea Turtle Friendly™ Tourism acts to reduce impacts of development and recreational activities and provides new and sustainable livelihood opportunities to protect these species.
Sea Turtle Friendly™ encourages the tourism sector to take pride in their role as sea turtle stewards and in securing a long-term future for a turtle-based tourism economy. Certification also empowers tourists to select hotel and excursion options with the confidence that they are truly supporting conservation efforts.
The Sea Turtle Friendly™ standards include criteria on:
- Nesting beach management
- Conservation of foraging habitat
- Beachfront lighting
- Guidelines for visitor behavior near sea turtles
- Community involvement
- Education and outreach
We are beginning to accept early inquiries now for a formal global launch. If you are a resort, lodge, tour operator, or other hospitality business and are interested in becoming certified, please contact Marissa@wildlifefriendly.org.