How shark conservation in the Maldives affects demand for dive tourism

Last modified: 
August 15, 2018 - 8:54am
Type: Journal Article
Year of publication: 2018
Date published: 12/2018
Authors: Johanna Zimmerhackel, Abbie Rogers, Mark Meekan, Khadeeja Ali, David Pannell, Marit Kragt
Journal title: Tourism Management
Volume: 69
Pages: 263 - 271
ISSN: 02615177

Shark-diving tourism provides important economic benefits to the Maldives. We examine the link between shark conservation actions and economic returns from diving tourism. A combined travel cost and contingent behaviour approach is used to estimate the dive trip demand under different management scenarios. Our results show that increasing shark populations could increase dive-trip demand by 15%, raising dive tourists’ welfare by US$58 million annually. This could result in annual economic benefits for the dive-tourism industry of >US$6 million. Conversely, in scenarios where shark populations decline, where dive tourists observe illegal fishing, or if dive operators lack engagement in shark conservation, dive trip demand could decrease by up to 56%. This decline causes economic losses of more than US$24 million annually to the dive tourism industry. These results highlight the dependence of the shark-diving industry on the creation and enforcement of appropriate management regimes for shark conservation.

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