Scuba diving has attracted increased numbers of tourists on a global scale. While the beneficial as well as detrimental impacts of scuba diving tourism have been well documented, limited research attention is given to the perspectives of dive operators with respect to sustainable development. This study examined the perspectives and experiences of dive operators in relation to sustainable resource use in Mozambique and Italy, two countries that are home to popular coastal destinations and offshore marine parks. Interviews suggested that overall operators have positive attitudes towards sustainable resource use, engaging in actions such as deploying four-stroke engines, recycling equipment and waste, and favouring electric-over fuel-powered vehicles. Yet, they do not promote sustainable resource use at the dive centre, with reasons including limited time, lack of government incentives, and absence of rebate systems. Implications were discussed for sustainable diving operations in the study areas and generally.
Antarctica's status as a unparalleled place of international scientific collaboration was entrenched in the Antarctic Treaty 1959, and its designation as a “natural reserve, devoted to peace and science” formally referenced in the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty (PEPAT) 1991 (PEPAT 1991, Article 2). The continent's importance for maintenance of the global ecosphere has more recently been confirmed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (Anisimov et al., 2007). However, the expanded scale and scope of commercial tourism in Antarctica over the last quarter century raises issues about whether the laissez-faire approach to tourism management that has been taken under the auspices of Antarctic Treaty System (ATS) governance is sufficient to protect the Antarctic environment and its “wilderness” values from the negative impacts of tourism (PEPAT, Article 3(1)). This is an subject that has occupied a number of the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Parties (ATCPs), who form the decision-making group within the ATS, and resulted in a recent question by The Netherlands to fellow ATCPs as to whether “a system of obligatory or voluntary payments by individual tourists or tourist organizations (as a payment for ‘ecosystem services’)?” should be established within the ATS (The Netherlands, ATCM XI, 2012).
This paper considers the Dutch question about payment for ecosystem services in Antarctica as a potential tourism regulatory tool. It also examines the legal and related political issues that a proposal for introduction of ecosystem services would generate in an area of the earth which, de facto, is treated as an international commons, but is also the site of continuing contestation and challenge over abeyant claims to sovereignty by seven states within the ATCP group. Issues canvassed in this context include: the different political-philosophical approaches to tourism and the environment evinced by the ATCPs; the limited number of states signatory to the Treaty and the increase in non-state actor activity in the Southern Ocean and Antarctic waters, and concomitant difficulties of monitoring and compliance in a geographically expansive and remote area of the earth; and the potential of ecosystem services in Antarctica to help realise some of the United Nations’ post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals.
There is global consensus that marine protected areas offer a plethora of benefits to the biodiversity within and around them. Nevertheless, many organisms threatened by human impacts also find shelter in unexpected or informally protected places. For coral reef organisms, refuges can be tourist resorts implementing local environment-friendly bottom-up management strategies. We used the coral reef ecosystem as a model to test whether such practices have positive effects on the biodiversity associated with de facto protected areas.
North Ari Atoll, Maldives.
We modelled the effects of the environment and three human management regimes (tourist resorts, uninhabited and local community islands) on the abundance and diversity of echinoderms and commercially important fish species, the per cent cover of reef benthic organisms (corals, calcareous coralline algae, turf and macroalgae) and the proportion of coral disease. We used multivariate techniques to assess the differences between reef components among the management regimes.
Reefs varied between the management regimes. A positive “resort effect” was found on sessile benthic organisms, with good coral cover and significantly less algae at resort islands. Corals were larger and had fewer diseases in uninhabited islands. Minor “resort effect” was detected on motile species represented by commercial fish and echinoderms.
In countries where natural biodiversity strongly sustains the tourist sector and where local populations rely on natural resources, a balance between tourism development, local extraction practices and biodiversity conservation is necessary. The presence of eco-friendly managed resorts, which practices would need to be certified on the long term, is beneficial to protect certain organisms. House reefs around resorts could therefore provide areas adding to existing marine protected areas, while marine protection efforts in local community islands should focus on improving fishing management.
Although tourism destination governance has been a subject of academic enquiry for some time now, in practice, governance is still a challenge for many tourism destinations around the world. Adaptive co-management (ACM) is a dynamic approach to governance whereby institutional arrangements and ecological knowledge are continually revised through a process of ‘learning-by-doing’. Founded on the active participation and collaboration of diverse stakeholder groups, ACM has been used extensively in the governance of natural resource contexts and so may offer valuable synergies for tourism governance; particularly the governance of tourism in protected areas. This review paper presents a critical review and synthesis of the ACM literature, identifying synergies and opportunities for enhancing tourism governance practices in protected area contexts through an ACM approach. A conceptual framework is developed from the review that identifies principles, stages, variables and expected outcomes of the ACM approach. Future research directions for ACM in tourism are proposed that incorporate governance, social learning and multi-stakeholder engagement.
- Since the implementation of the commercial whaling ban in the 1980s, whale-watching has become the most important economic activity involving whales worldwide.
- Whale-watching is promoted as a platform for education and conservation awareness of marine biodiversity. In Peru, where cetacean species are still in jeopardy, whale-watching may play an important part in promoting the protection of these species.
- This study aimed to determine the degree of whale-watching tourists' knowledge regarding cetacean ecology and conservation status and to evaluate if whale-watching tours could serve as platforms for educating the public and raising conservation awareness.
- The results of 196 closed-ended questionnaires and 20 open-ended interviews conducted before and after whale-watching tours, during the humpback whale season (winter–spring 2014) in northern Peru, revealed an overall lack of knowledge concerning the presence of species of cetaceans in Peruvian waters and threats to marine biodiversity. However, after the whale-watching excursion, participants said they would be more willing to change their behaviour with respect to cetacean conservation and marine environment protection.
- This study suggests that whale-watching platforms, when implemented with adequate interpreters, can serve as a source of environmental education and can raise conservation awareness. This is an important conservation strategy to consider in countries, such as Peru, where by-catch and direct hunting are decimating local cetacean populations.
There is a growing need for instruments to control and reduce the impacts of the increasing number of tourists visiting protected natural areas. Among these economic instruments, the use of access fees can have positive effects on enhancing environmental sustainability by reducing the number of visitors. Access fees are also a source of financing the management costs of a protected area. Among the negative impacts of tourism, users of beaches perceive congestion as a factor in reducing the final value of the touristic experience. This article analyses the perception of locals of an access fee to enter the small Canary island of Lobos, a protected natural area with high quality beaches, whose quietness is endangered by an increasing number of visitors, clearly exceeding the current carrying capacity. We approached the problem using different tools: firstly, we looked at visitors’ opinions on the website TripAdvisor to identify whether congestion is perceived as a problem; secondly, we carried out an opinion survey using Likert-type scale questions to capture opinions about crowding and pricing; and finally, we used a discrete choice experiment to estimate the willingness to pay (WTP) for accessing the island and reducing congestion. The results reveal a high degree of perception of congestion and the potential of an entrance fee as an effective tool in reducing that congestion and thus generating resources to cover the maintenance costs of the protected area.
- We identify degrees of oiling along the coast line of the Gulf of Mexico.
- Findings suggest that many areas of tourism activity have small oiling.
- Approach demonstrates the ability to forecast oil landfall locations.
- Results enhance understanding oil spill and impact characteristics.
- Different spill scenarios result in vastly different impacts.
A large reef manta ray (Manta alfredi) aggregation has been observed off the north Sudanese Red Sea coast since the 1950s. Sightings have been predominantly within the boundaries of a marine protected area (MPA), which was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in July 2016. Contrasting economic development trajectories have been proposed for the area (small-scale ecotourism and large-scale island development). To examine space-use, Wildlife Computers® SPOT 5 tags were secured to three manta rays. A two-state switching Bayesian state space model (BSSM), that allowed movement parameters to switch between resident and travelling, was fit to the recorded locations, and 50% and 95% kernel utilization distributions (KUD) home ranges calculated. A total of 682 BSSM locations were recorded between 30 October 2012 and 6 November 2013. Of these, 98.5% fell within the MPA boundaries; 99.5% for manta 1, 91.5% for manta 2, and 100% for manta 3. The BSSM identified that all three mantas were resident during 99% of transmissions, with 50% and 95% KUD home ranges falling mainly within the MPA boundaries. For all three mantas combined (88.4%), and all individuals (manta 1–92.4%, manta 2–64.9%, manta 3–91.9%), the majority of locations occurred within 15 km of the proposed large-scale island development. Results indicated that the MPA boundaries are spatially appropriate for manta rays in the region, however, a close association to the proposed large-scale development highlights the potential threat of disruption. Conversely, the focused nature of spatial use highlights the potential for reliable ecotourism opportunities.
Situated to the south of New Zealand in the Southern Ocean are the New Zealand Subantarctic Islands, comprising the Auckland, Campbell, Antipodes, Snares and Bounty Islands. Sometimes referred to as the ‘Forgotten Islands’, these island groups are among the most remote and hostile within New Zealand waters. Yet, as they harbour some of the country’s most unique biodiversity and contain some of the world’s least modified landforms, they were recognized in 1998 with the designation of World Heritage Area status. It is not surprising therefore that the Islands have long appealed to visitors wishing to explore and understand the Islands’ rich natural and cultural environments. Typically, fare-paying tourists arrive by sea in small- to medium-sized expedition-style cruise vessels, although in recent years, the number of small vessels, such as yachts and sail boats, has increased. The most recent Conservation Management Strategy (2016) proposes developing and implementing a visitor monitoring programme to determine the effects of visitors on the natural and cultural environment, as well as on the visitor experience itself. However, there is only piecemeal data published on visitor numbers (especially since the mid-1990s) upon which to base visitor monitoring, and there is only limited evidence regarding the range of possible impacts visitors may have, including direct and indirect impact on wildlife, soils, and vegetation. In order to address this gap in knowledge, this case study draws on stakeholder interviews (n = 4), and a range of secondary sources (including visitor statistics from the Department of Conservation, tour operators and other published works) to provide an overview and update on visitation to the Islands, including site-specific data, an assessment of tourist impacts, and how impacts are currently monitored and managed.
Historically sharks have been seen either as a source of income through harvesting, or as a nuisance and danger. The economic value of sharks has traditionally been measured as the total value of sharks caught for liver oil, fins, or meat for consumption. Sharks have also been killed to near extinction in cases where they were seen as a threat to fisheries on other species. This is illustrated by the mass extermination of Basking Sharks (Cetorhinus maximus) in British Columbia. They were seen as a nuisance to fishermen as they got entangled in gill nets during the salmon fishing season. However with the development of the SCUBA diving industry, and ecotourism in general, increased awareness of the role sharks play in marine ecosystems has resulted in changes in how they are perceived and utilized. Despite an ongoing harvest of sharks such as the North Pacific Spiny Dogfish (Squalus suckleyi), sharks now generate economic value through SCUBA diving enthusiasts who travel the globe to see, swim with, and photograph them. The use of digital cameras and other digital media has brought sharks into households around the world and increased awareness of the conservation issues facing many species. This renewed appreciation has led to a better understanding of sharks by the public, resulting in advocates calling for better protections and conservation. In particular, a growing part of the SCUBA diving community wants to contribute to conservation and research projects, which has led to participation in citizen science projects. These projects provide scientific data but also gain ground as ecotourism activities, thus adding to both economic value of tourism and conservation efforts.