About us

About the West African Eco Tourism

The West Africa Ecotourism Network (WAEN) is a network of ecotourism stakeholders in West Africa, who commit to the shared understanding of the positive impacts that can be generated by ecotourism in the region.

WAEN defines ecotourism as “environmentally, socially and culturally responsible travel to natural areas that contributes to conserving ecosystems and educating visitors and communities about their importance. Ecotourism sustains well-being of local people by providing livelihood opportunities compatible with conservation efforts and involves both visitors and resident populations in the protection of unique yet fragile biodiversities.”


West Africa becomes known as a high-quality ecotourism destination that contributes to the development of local communities, conservation of nature, and the enhancement of local tourism livelihoods.

Mission Statement

Be a knowledge hub for ecotourism organisations in West Africa to disseminate and improve ecotourism practices and standards, by facilitating networking with knowledgeable organisations, institutions, professionals and individuals operating within the global tourism industry and interconnected sectors.


Empower stakeholders in the tourism industry to develop sustainable opportunities through ecotourism.


WAEN requires its members to adopt the following principles (based on The International Ecotourism Society) in their activities and projects:

  • Minimise negative physical, social, and economic impacts.
  • Build environmental and cultural awareness and respect.
  • Provide positive experiences for both visitors and hosts.
  • Provide direct financial benefits for conservation.
  • Generate financial benefits for both local people and private industry.
  • Deliver memorable interpretative experiences to visitors that help raise sensitivity to host communities’ political, environmental, and social climates.
  • Design, construct and operate low-impact facilities.
  • Recognise the rights and spiritual beliefs of the indigenous people in local communities and work in partnership with them to create empowerment.


WAEN hopes to inspire and support ecotourism actors and stakeholders in their initiatives to develop and administer viable ecotourism operations in West Africa, in accordance with the network’s vision for ecotourism in the region, consisting of Benin Republic, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Cote d’Ivoire, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, St. Helena, São Tomé & Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo. WAEN will aim to harmonise and develop ecotourism efforts as a contributor to the comprehensive growth and welfare of the region.

WAEN work program for 2022 to 2023 will be designed around the following objectives:

  • Establishing the organisation, its website and membership.
  • Holding a launch event and developing a two-year action plan
  • Prioritising capacity building needs according to importance in order to take concrete steps for developing West African ecotourism.
  • Organising periodic workshops, seminars, trainings and other programs to equip WAEN members with basic organisational and management tools for growth.
  • Cooperate at an inter-country level to support the interrelated principals and activities of West Africa Integrated Travel (WAIT) project.
  • Organise regular FAM trips and excursions to inspire and promote ecotourism travel in the region.

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The activity benefited from support from the Umbrella Facility for Trade trust fund financed by the governments of the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.