Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

The global economic contribution of protected natural lands and wilderness through tourism


H. Ken Cordell
J. Michael Bowker



Publication type:

Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Primary Station(s):

Southern Research Station


The Wild Planet Project: 28-30


These are the first-round results of a project aimed at exploring at a global scale the complex relationships between protected natural lands, tourism, and economic growth. In this fist round we mainly were interested in secondary sources of data and parameters from previously published studies. In presenting results for the 8th World Wilderness Congress, we provided summaries of the area of protected natural lands, estimates of the economic impacts stimulated by tourism drawn by these lands, and the spatial distributions of these lands and impacts around the globe. We were surprised to discover that only a very limited amount of research has been done previously to assemble the concepts, models, data, and summaries necessary for such an effort at a global scale. Thus, it was necessary for this project to tightly define the concepts of tourism and nature-based tourism that are relevant to assessing global impacts. Next it was necessary to identify and obtain contemporary best data enumerating tourists, their travels, and their spending. Finally, it was necessary to pull key concepts and data together for defining, quantifying, and spatially marking the economic activities associated with tourists traveling to visit and see protected natural lands.


Cordell, H. Ken; Bowker, J. Michael. 2007. The global economic contribution of protected natural lands and wilderness through tourism. The Wild Planet Project: 28-30

Publication Notes

  • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.