The oceans are in a state of rapid change – both negatively, due climate destabilization and misuse, and positively, due to strengthening of policies for sustainable use combined with momentum to grow the blue economy. Globally, more than 121 million people enjoy nature-based marine tourism — e.g., recreational fishing, diving, whale watching — making it one of the largest marine sectors. This industry is increasingly threatened by ocean degradation and management has not kept pace to ensure long-term sustainability. In response, individuals within the industry are taking it upon themselves to monitor the oceans and provide the data needed to assist management decisions. Fiji is one such place where the dive tourism industry is motivated to monitor the oceans (e.g., track sharks). In 2012, 39 dive operators in collaboration with eOceans commenced the Great Fiji Shark Count (GFSC) to document sharks (and other species) on 592 dive sites. Here, using 146,304 shark observations from 30,668 dives we document spatial patterns of 11 shark species. High variability demonstrates the value of longitudinal data that include absences for describing mobile megafauna and the capacity of stakeholders to document the oceans. Our results may be used to guide future scientific questions, provide a baseline for future assessments, or to evaluate conservation needs. It also shows the value of scientists collaborating with stakeholders to address questions that are most important to the local community so that they have the information needed to make science-based decisions.
Purpose – The purpose of the paper is to analyse the importance of users’ perceptions and satisfaction as an indicator for future investment and management of beaches in a sustainable way. In the paper, the case study of Karpinjan beach (Novigrad) is presented.
Design/Methodology/Approach – For the research, a questionnaire for beach users was developed. The field research was carried out in 2017 among beach users (tourists, visitors and residents) before the investment and again in 2018 after the investment and implementation of the Green Beach Model, within the framework of the MITOMED+ project. In 2017, 23 different elements/aspects were evaluated, and in 2018 several additional elements were added for evaluation regarding content and conditions of the beach. 245 surveys were collected on Karpinjan beach in 2017, and in 2018 additional 302. In total, 547 beach users were interviewed on Karpinjan beach.
Findings – The beach users were most satisfied with the beach comfort, beautiful scenery and beach cleanliness in both years. The usefulness of specific elements, as future indicators for sustainable beach management, is discussed in the paper.
Originality of the research – The developed survey and findings can help future beach managers and local destinations as a tool for sustainable destination management.
Arctic tourism has rapidly increased in the past two decades. We used social media data to examine localized tourism booms and quantify the spatial expansion of the Arctic tourism footprint. We extracted geotagged locations from over 800,000 photos on Flickr and mapped these across space and time. We critically examine the use of social media as a data source in data-poor regions, and find that while social media data is not suitable as an early warning system of tourism growth in less visited parts of the world, it can be used to map changes at large spatial scales. Our results show that the footprint of summer tourism quadrupled and winter tourism increased by over 600% between 2006 and 2016, although large areas of the Arctic remain untouched by tourism. This rapid increase in the tourism footprint raises concerns about the impacts and sustainability of tourism on Arctic ecosystems and communities. This boom is set to continue, as new parts of the Arctic are being opened to tourism by melting sea ice, new airports and continued promotion of the Arctic as a ‘last chance to see’ destination. Arctic societies face complex decisions about whether this ongoing growth is socially and environmentally sustainable.
Cruise-ship tourism is one of the fastest growing industry sectors, with itineraries that regularly visit marine parks and protected areas. UNESCO Marine World Heritage (MWH) Sites feature some of the world’s most exceptional ecosystems, resulting in some cruise lines targeting these sites. To understand the extent of cruise ship visitation and determine perceptions of cruise ship sustainability within and across environmental, economic, and sociocultural dimensions, we conducted an online survey of 45 (out of 50) sites. The survey included responses about the characteristics of cruise ship visitation, strategies for sustainably managing ships, and ideas for encouraging sustainable practices. Among the 45 respondents, 30 (67%) indicated that their MWH site hosts cruise ships or cruise ship passengers, and 25 sites have cruise ships that enter the protected area marine waters. Most sites (62%) indicated an increase in cruise visitation over the last three years. While most sites regulate ballast water (73%) and wastewater (73%) discharge, common concerns focused on ship air emissions and wildlife interactions. Lack of funds generated by cruise ships toward community infrastructure was noted. MWH site managers expressed interest in developing site networks to facilitate sharing of ideas as a first step for increasing sustainability across all sites.
Using the green economy framework of DeLacy , this paper evaluated the policy environment regarding the green economy concept and circumstance in the destination of Wakatobi Island, Indonesia. The four policy clusters of the green economy framework guided the investigation in order to provide an understanding of the existing green economy framework policies and identify policy gaps that were pertinent to the transformation to the green economy of the tourism sector in the destination of Wakatobi Island. The policy analysis was also informed by observations in the destination to explore the extent that the destination has implemented green economy policies. It was found that the policy environment in Indonesia is generally conducive for the tourism sector to transform into a green economy. However, most of the green economy initiatives in the country are policy-level adaptation. Further, there is a strong need to incorporate measurement of indicators of progress towards the success of implementation of the published policies.
Natural protected areas are often required to concurrently support conservation and tourism development. Estimating the ecosystem's carrying capacity and setting up visitor access limitations is a common approach in maximising resource use to avoid environmental degradation. Our research used a case study strategy and a political ecology approach to analyse the conflict surrounding a carrying capacity-based management plan implemented in a Mediterranean marine protected area under severe pressure from scuba diving. A mixed documental and discourse analysis method based on fieldwork, grey literature and 16 semi-structured interviews with representatives of seven groups of stakeholders was used. Results indicate that although the carrying capacity approach was instrumentally supported by all groups, conventional scientific ecological knowledge played only a specious role in decision-making. Factors related to path dependency, neoliberal governance frameworks, uneven distribution of power among stakeholders and regulatory weaknesses were found to be the most influential in facilitating increased visitor pressure in the reserve. We conclude that, in order to be effective and mitigate social conflict, natural resource management strategies based on the carrying capacity concept must be complemented with a precursory assessment of the biopolitical context to align the goals of planning with the possibilities of the socially constructed environment.
The whale-watching industry in Juneau, Alaska relies primarily on the presence of North Pacific humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae). To meet demands from the rapidly growing tourism industry, the number of whale-watching vessels in this region has tripled over the last 18 years. As a result, increased vessel presence could have negative effects on humpback whales, ranging from short-term behavioral disturbance to long-term impacts. The current humpback whale viewing regulations are outdated and may not be as effective as they were 18 years ago, when both the whale-watching industry and humpback whale population were smaller. The present study assessed how humpback whale movement and behavioral patterns were affected by (1) vessel presence and number of vessels present, and (2) time spent in the presence of vessels. The study also determined how humpback whale behavioral state transitions were affected by vessel presence. A total of 201 humpback whale focal follows were conducted during summer 2016 and 2017. Based on linear mixed effects models, whales in the presence (vs. absence) of vessels exhibited 38.9% higher deviation in linear movement (p = 0.001), 6.2% increase in swimming speed (p = 0.047) and a 6.7% decrease in inter-breath intervals (IBI) (p = 0.025). For each additional vessel present, deviation increased by 6.2% (p = 0.022) and IBI decreased by 3.4% (p = 0.001). As time spent in the presence of vessels increased, respiration rate increased (p = 0.011). Feeding and traveling humpback whales were likely to maintain their behavioral state regardless of vessel presence, while surface active humpback whales were likely to transition to traveling in the presence of vessels. These short-term changes in movement and behavior in response to whale-watching vessels could lead to cumulative, long-term consequences, negatively impacting the health and predictability of the resource on which the industry relies. Current formal vessel approach regulations and voluntary guidelines should be revisited to reduce vessel pressure and mitigate potential negative effects of this growing whale-watching industry.
Marine parks were established to protect the diverse marine ecosystem in Malaysia, and over the years, the islands have attracted an increasing number of tourists. These marine park islands have become not only one of the top ecotourism destinations in Malaysia but an important contributor to the socio-economic growth of the nation. Nonetheless, it is a constant challenge to maintain the marine parks’ natural charm due to negative tourism impacts. Humans’ consumption behaviour has been identified as a driver of climate change. Given that humans’ contribution to the problem is closely related to sustainable behaviour, this study focuses on tourists’ behaviour. With the growing awareness on global environmental challenges, environmental knowledge has often been prescribed as one of the main precursors of tourists’ behaviour, yet few studies have attempted to assess this factor from different dimensions. This paper examines tourists’ environmental knowledge from a multidimensional aspect of factual, conceptual and procedural dimensions to determine its role in influencing attitude and responsible environmental behaviour. A face-to-face survey was conducted among 85 domestic and international marine park tourists, and data were analysed using PLS-SEM method. This preliminary study revealed that environmental knowledge is formatively represented by factual, conceptual and procedural dimensions. Furthermore, results confirmed the linear relationships between knowledge, attitude and behaviour with knowledge as a strong predictor of attitude that leads to higher pro-environmental behaviours, hence highlighting the importance of promoting environmental knowledge among marine park tourists who drives pro-environmental attitude and responsible behaviour to achieve a sustainable ecotourism development.
Swim-with-whale tourism is a lucrative and rapidly growing industry worldwide. Whale-watching can cause negative effects on the behaviour of targeted animals. Although this is believed to be particularly true for close-up interactions, such as swim-with operations, few empirical studies have investigated this. In 2016, the Western Australian State Government commenced a swim-with humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) trial in the Ningaloo Marine Park, where 11 commercial licences were granted. The swim-with trial was conducted during both the northern and southern whale migration (August to November), during which we assessed potential short-term behavioural effects on humpback whales to swim-with activities. From both an independent research vessel (n = 300 h) and on-board commercial swim-with vessels (n = 357 h), we collected group-follow data (n = 224) on whale behaviour before, during and after swim-with activities. Behavioural effects on whales were investigated, including movement patterns (deviation and directness index, heading, swim speed), surfacing patterns (dive duration and respiration rate) and occurrence of agonistic behaviours. Results showed that the most common type of vessel approach to place swimmers in the water was in the path of whales (89.8% of interactions). During in-path approaches, vessels travelled significantly faster (P = .002) compared to when approaching from the side (side/line abreast approaches). When vessels approached in the whales' path, whales exhibited horizontal and vertical avoidance strategies by adopting a less predictable path (deviating from 32° to 46°), increasing turning angles away from the vessel (heading from 73° to >90°), increasing swim speeds (from 1.68 to 1.89 ms−1), and decreasing the duration of their dives (from 224 to 194 s). Whales displayed a higher frequency of agonistic behaviours when a swim-with vessel was <100 m distance from them compared to >100 m away (P = .011). Young-of-year calves were present during 19.6% (18 of 92) of group-follows that included swim attempts. To reduce potential impacts on whales and increase swimmer safety, we recommend to avoid in-path vessel approaches, not place swimmers in the water with groups of whales that perform agonistic behaviours, and avoid swimming with young-of-year calves.
Population studies of marine mammals are costly and time-consuming. Nevertheless, many people are happy to use their own resources to apply similar procedures to those necessary to evaluate dolphin populations in dolphin watching tourism. This offers a unique opportunity to collect sufficient data on dolphins to allow for conservation status evaluation by means of Citizen Science, a trending method. Here we crossed information on which species are targeted by tourism and which were lacking important population and ecology data, returning a list of 16 dolphin species which could benefit from dolphin watching tourism to assemble population data with conservation value. We make the case for engaging tourists and tourism agencies in a citizen science effort to raise data on dolphin species. For that, we offer suggestions for dolphin population analyses applicable by non-scientist personal.