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Ecotourism expert’s key role at UN World Oceans Day virtual summit

Dr Carl Cater

Swansea University ecotourism expert Carl Cater is taking part in global event to mark United Nations World Oceans Day on Tuesday, June 8.

Dr Cater, associate professor of tourism at the School of Management, will join a panel discussion during the day-long virtual conference which is expected to reach more than 60 million people via social media.

The theme for this year’s event is The Ocean: Life and Livelihoods and its programme of keynote speeches, panels, and presentations will be kicked off by the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres and President of the UN General Assembly Volkan Bozkir.

Dr Cater said: “I am honoured to be asked to contribute towards this event and the panel on creating sustainable livelihoods for coastal communities. These livelihoods can come from their marine resources by recognising the assets they have and using tourism as one tool to augment them.”

The panel discussion aims to highlight solutions that can transform and establish human-centric, harmonious ways of balancing our relationship with the ocean.

This is a field Dr Cater has considerable experience in, having written a book and research papers on marine ecotourism as well as sitting on the editorial board of Journal of Tourism in Marine Environments.

He said: “I have been working on the relationship between tourism and marine conservation for a couple of decades, having previously worked with partners such as the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, as scientific advisor to Coral Cay Conservation and in numerous coastal communities hosting marine ecotourism around the world. “

His most recent paper examined issues around the partnerships involved in achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goal 14 Life Below Water and he has also examined the growing popularity of scuba diving in mass tourism destinations in the Mediterranean.

Since its inception in 2008, UN World Oceans Day has celebrated the ocean and its importance to our planet and our lives. Over the course of the pandemic, the world saw more clearly than ever, just how reliant on the ocean we collectively are. This year’s event will be shedding light on the wonder of the ocean and how it supports humanity and every other organism on Earth.

The conference will bring together scientists, explorers, experts, and coastal communities from around the world to deepen understanding of the ocean and discuss the need for building a new balance with the ocean that is inclusive, innovative and informed by those who depend on it, as well as by lessons from the past.

Dr Cater added: “United Nations World Oceans Day is a great initiative that puts a spotlight not only on the precarious nature of our oceans but also on the opportunities offered in the blue space. “