General Information:

Organizers:
Colorado State University’s Center for Protected Area Management and U.S. Forest Service’s International Programs
Virtual Conference Dates:
October 11 – 15, 2021
Deadline to Submit Presentation Proposals:
We have closed the proposal submission period
Deadline to Register:
Through September 17, 2021 (or until the conference is full – max 400 participants)

Protected Area Tourism in a Post-COVID World

From October 11 through October 15, 2021 we invite you to join us for our Virtual Conference on Protected Area Tourism in a Post-COVID World, co-organized by Colorado State University’s Center for Protected Area Management and the U.S. Forest Service’s International Programs.  Additionally, this conference has support from the GEF-financed Global Wildlife Program led by the World Bank and the US National Park Service.  Due to support of our sponsors, there is no cost for participation in this conference; however, we are limited to a maximum of 400 participants.  This online encounter will provide a virtual space to discuss how protected areas, communities, and sustainable tourism providers are currently adapting to COVID-19 and to envision how we can improve sustainable tourism in protected areas in the future.
The conference’s main goal is to offer an opportunity and space to exchange information and ideas between protected area and tourism professionals. This dialogue will be a continuation of the conversation held every September during our Sustainable Tourism in Protected Areas Seminar. This English-language in-person seminar (click here for more information), also known as the Tourism Seminar, normally occurs over the course of 17-days and invites participants from around the world to join us as we visit a variety of protected areas in the western U.S. and explore sustainable tourism design and management in and around protected areas.
In response to the pandemic during the years 2020 and 2021, it was not possible to offer this seminar. This conference provides us with an opportunity, due to its virtual nature, to unite our alumni from all of the previous seven editions of the in-person seminar while also allowing us to expand this professional network of contacts to people who have not yet been able to participate in our seminar but are interested in participating in the future. Therefore, on behalf of Colorado State University’s Center for Protected Area Management and the U.S. Forest Service’s International Programs, we invite everyone interested in the topic of sustainable tourism in protected areas to participate in this event.

Conference Focus

The world is in a constant state of change. In 2020, it became even more clear that the world can change drastically and very quickly. Protected areas, a tool for the long-term conservation of biodiversity and environmental services, represent one of the largest collective human land-use decisions in the world. However, the global changes occurring affect protected areas in many complex ways. We are losing biodiversity, forest cover, clean water, clean air, and even our own connection with nature. But at the same time, protected area managers, collaborators, and communities are working with great dedication to sustain the protected areas that in the end sustain us.
It is clear that providing sustainable opportunities for people to visit protected areas is vital for their long-term public support. In addition, support to protected areas can be designed in a way that also contributes to local community livelihoods and national-level economies. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has created major global challenges on this front. At the same time, we have seen a boom in local visitation to protected areas as people have turned to their parks as a space for mental, physical, and emotional well-being during the pandemic. This virtual conference will allow us to exchange ideas, approaches, and stories of success in protected area visitation and sustainable tourism around the world. This includes what is working now and how we envision to create even more meaningful opportunities for people to connect with the world’s protected areas as global tourism starts to open up again.
Along with our general theme, “Protected Area Tourism in a Post-COVID World”, the conference has three subthemes and ten featured topics:

 

Conference Sub-themes:
  1. Building resilience for tourism and protected areas.
  2. Enhancing engagement and connections with the public.
  3. Planning and managing sustainable tourism in protected areas.
Conference Topics:
  1. Adaptation to COVID-19
  2. Protected area tourism and resilience
  3. Good practices in sustainable tourism planning and management
  4. New trends and opportunities in sustainable tourism in protected areas
  5. Building public support for protected areas
  6. Tourism and protected area concessions
  7. Tourism value chains
  8. Trails and other sustainable tourism infrastructure
  9. Environmental interpretation
  10. University access programs

How to Participate

There are three ways you can participate in this virtual conference: You can indicate your interest in 1) giving a presentation as a CONFERENCE PRESENTER, 2) indicate your availability to participate as a PANELIST, 3) or you can simply participate as a GENERAL PARTICIPANT. Below we provide additional information on these possible levels of participation:

 

CONFERENCE PRESENTER
Would you like to share your technical knowledge and experience with other conference attendees from around the world? Maybe you have an interesting case study or a project with lessons learned that you would like to showcase with others. The selected presentations in this category of participation will support the general theme of the conference, “Protected Area Tourism in a Post-COVID World” and be related to one of the sub-themes and at least one of the conference topics. Conference presenters may present alone or with a group of presenters.
There are three format options for conference presenter presentations:
Pre-recorded Formal Presentation (25 minute duration for individual presentations / 50 minute duration for group presentations): This format is ideal for speakers who do NOT have a stable internet connection and want to submit a pre-recorded video of their presentation to ensure that the presentation is transmitted on the day of your session without difficulty. This format is a formal presentation where the speaker presents (a PowerPoint presentation, for example) and the audience listens. Once the timeframe for the presentation is over, there will be a question and answer session so that the presenters can receive questions from the audience and answer them live.
Live Formal Presentation (25 minutes duration for individual presentations / 50 minute duration for group presentations): This option is appropriate for speakers who have a good Internet connection and who will be able to connect through Zoom to present their session live. This format is a formal presentation where the speaker presents (a PowerPoint presentation, for example) and the audience listens. Once the timeframe for the presentation is over, there will be a question and answer session so that the presenters can receive questions from the audience and answer them live.
Live Interactive Presentation (60 minutes duration for individual and group presentations): This option is appropriate for speakers who have a good Internet connection and who will be able to connect through Zoom to present their session live. This format gives speakers the opportunity to design a more interactive presentation that enables the implementation of interactive Zoom features such as small group rooms and polls, as well as other interactive tools that will allow the audience to engage with the conference presenters during the presentation. Once the timeframe for the presentation is over, there will be a question and answer session so that the presenters can receive questions from the audience and answer them live.
We look forward to accepting a balance between prerecorded formal presentations, live formal presentations, and live interactive presentations.

 

PANELIST
Would you like to share your knowledge and experience on a topic, but prefer not to present it in a formal format with PowerPoint slides? Rather, would you prefer to share your knowledge through informal conversation with other colleagues in the form of a panel? We will be organizing panels to discuss different topics related to sustainable tourism in protected areas.

 

GENERAL PARTICIPANT
Would you like to participate as an audience member in all sessions and learn from the presenters without having the responsibility of presenting something formal? As a general participant, you will have the opportunity to actively participate in the sessions as a member of the conference audience. You will be encouraged to participate in chats and breakout groups when they exist to make the most of this opportunity.
To register for the conference, please fill out the registration form HERE no later than September 17, 2021 (or until the conference is filled at 400 max capacity).

Registration

The registration is OPEN until the registration deadline of September 17, 2021 (or until the conference is filled at 400 max capacity).
To register as a GENERAL PARTICIPANT, please fill out the Online Registration Form HERE. NOTE: Potential CONFERENCE PRESENTERS and PANELISTS must also register as general participants in addition to submitting their presentation proposal.
Due to sponsorship from the US Forest Service International Program, the GEF-financed Global Wildlife Program led by the World Bank, and the US National Park Service, this conference is FREE for all participants. We are very appreciative of our conference sponsors who are making this conference widely available for people all around the world.  However, please note that we are only able to accept 400 participants in the conference.  Participants will be accepted in the order that they apply, so it is important to apply as soon as possible if you are interested in this conference.
If you have questions related to this virtual conference, please contact us by email: protectedareas@colostate.edu