Tourism is one of the largest economic sectors in the world. It has a positive effect on the economy of many countries, but it can also lead to negative impacts on local ecosystems. Informal environmental education through Citizen Science (CS) projects can be effective in increasing citizen environmental knowledge and awareness in the short-term. A change of awareness could bring to a behavioral change in the long-term, making tourism more sustainable. However, the long-term effects of participating in CS projects are still unknown. This is the first follow-up study concerning the effects of participating in a CS project on cognitive and psychological aspects at the basis of pro-environmental behavior. An environmental education program was developed, between 2012 and 2013, in a resort in Marsa Alam, Egypt. The study directly evaluated, through paper questionnaires, the short-term (after 1 week or 10 days) retention of knowledge and awareness of volunteers that had participated in the activities proposed by the program. After three years, participants were re-contacted via email to fill in the same questionnaire as in the short-term study, plus a new section with psychological variables. 40.5% of the re-contacted participants completed the follow-up questionnaires with a final sample size of fifty-five people for this study. Notwithstanding the limited sample size, positive trends in volunteer awareness, personal satisfaction regarding the CS project, and motivation to engage in pro-environmental behavior in the long-term were observed.
Sustainable tourism involves increasingly attracting visitors while preserving the natural capital of a destination for future generations. To foster tourism while protecting sensitive environments, coastal managers, tourism operators, and other decision-makers benefit from information about where tourists go and which aspects of the natural and built environment draw them to particular locations. Yet this information is often lacking at management-relevant scales and in remote places. We tested and applied methods using social media as data on tourism in The Bahamas. We found that visitation, as measured by numbers of geolocated photographs, is well correlated with counts of visitors from entrance surveys for islands and parks. Using this relationship, we predicted nearly 4 K visitor-days to the network of Bahamian marine protected areas annually, with visitation varying more than 20-fold between the most and least visited parks. Next, to understand spatial patterns of tourism for sustainable development, we combined social media-based data with entrance surveys for Andros, the largest island in The Bahamas. We estimated that tourists spend 125 K visitor-nights and more than US$45 M in the most highly visited district, five times that of the least visited district. We also found that tourists prefer accessible, natural landscapes—such as reefs near lodges—that can be reached by air, roads, and ferries. The results of our study are being used to inform development and conservation decisions, such as where to invest in infrastructure for visitor access and accommodation, siting new marine protected areas, and management of established protected areas. Our work provides an important example of how to leverage social media as a source of data to inform strategies that encourage tourism, while conserving the environments that draw visitors to a destination in the first place.
As the growth of the whale-watching activity increases rapidly around the world, the challenge of responsible management and sustainability also rises. Without suitable management, operators may try to maximize their own profits by breaking the rules, which may negatively affect cetaceans. In this paper, the applicability of conditions for sustainability governance in humpback whale-watching was evaluated. To achieve this purpose, semi-structured interviews were conducted in Uramba Bahía Málaga National Natural Park, Colombia. Results of this study showed that humpback whale-watching is characterized by unevenness in connections with markets, income inequality and the distribution of operators across several villages and cities. The combination of which restricts cooperation between operators. Nevertheless, there are informal agreements among the operators, and some operators are motivated to form associations. Besides, environmental entities have been responsible of regulation in lack of community-based management. However, this still does not achieve effective enforcement of the rules. Stakeholders (communities and government authorities) must mediate trust and reciprocity among operators to improve the situation. It is important to involve all operators to fill gaps in the limited government monitoring capacity and absence of sanctions. This is relevant to continue monitoring the evolution of the whale-watching in this and other Marine Protected Areas, so that the sustainability of the activity is not affected in the future.
Cetacean tourism in Aotearoa New Zealand is now over 30 years old and has experienced substantial growth in visitor numbers and operations. The industry is remarkably diverse, targeting several dolphin and whale species, and encompassing varied habitats in coastal waters, fiords and submarine canyons. The knowledge and experience collected over these past 30 years has both advanced the global understanding of cetacean tourism, and influenced scientific practices for its study and management. Here we review the approaches taken in quantifying the impact of cetacean tourism in New Zealand, and critically assess the efficacy of the research and management strategies adopted. We place particular focus on the Bay of Islands, Hauraki Gulf, Kaikoura, Akaroa and Fiordland, areas that include the oldest, and longest studied industries nationally. We propose a set of best research practices, expose the most notable knowledge gaps and identify emerging research questions. Drawing on perspectives from the natural and social sciences, we outline the key determinants of failure and success in protecting cetacean populations from the detrimental impact of tourism. We suggest four golden rules for future management efforts: (1) acknowledge cetacean tourism as a sub-lethal anthropogenic stressor to be managed with precaution, (2) apply integrated and adaptive site- and species-specific approaches, (3) fully conceptualize tourism within its broader social and ecological contexts, and (4) establish authentic collaborations and engagement with the local community. Lastly, we forecast upcoming challenges and opportunities for research and management of this industry in the context of global climate change. Despite New Zealand's early establishment of precautionary legislation and advanced tourism research and management approaches, we detected flaws in current schemes, and emphasize the need for more adaptive and comprehensive strategies. Cetacean tourism remains an ongoing challenge in New Zealand and globally.
This study provides an in-depth understanding of the causes and consequences of sleep loss and fatigue in the coral reef tourism industry. Utilizing a qualitative methodology, data were obtained from eight focus groups conducted in Far North Queensland with 42 reef tourism employees. Analysis involved identifying and inductively coding any emergent categories of the causes and consequences of sleep loss and fatigue. Findings are applied to Baum, Kralj, Robinson, and Solnet's (2016) taxonomy of tourism research to highlight where the causes of sleep loss and fatigue originate. This reflects individual, occupational and industry-level causes of sleep loss and fatigue which workers indicate have consequences for their wellbeing, and the safety and efficacy of their operations. Implications for the broader tourism industry are discussed.
This manuscript provides the only empirically derived pre-COVID-19 global estimation of international surf travel spending and the first assessment of sustainable surf tourism attitudes, behaviors, and willingness to pay. It establishes important baselines that can serve as points of comparison as, and after, surf tourism returns, inevitably changed, post-COVID-19. Employing a direct cost method, international surf tourism expenditure was valued between $31.5 to $64.9 billion USD per year and surfers reported being willing to pay between $1.99 and $4.1 billion USD more annually for sustainable surf tourism products. These results suggest surfing tourism deserves a more significant place in funding initiatives, discussions, and research related to fostering sustainable development from ocean resources in the rapidly changing world.
Quantifying the number of recreational fishers is important for many aspects of managing coastal resources. Unfortunately, quantifying recreational boaters in offshore settings has proven difficult due to their distance from shore and a lack of cost-effective methods to monitor small boats (<10 m length). We investigated visitor-use at an offshore marine protected area (MPA) in the southeastern USA. We used multiple methods of counting boats (satellites, buoy camera, passive acoustics, and boat-based observations) and a generalized linear modeling approach to identify environmental and calendar-based predictor variables that influenced visitation. Based on the model, predicted visitor-encounter rates were estimated for various weather and calendar-based scenarios, and the probability of detecting a hypothetical change in visitation with each counting method was examined through a power analysis. The most important predictors were day of the week, special day (e.g., tournament), water temperature, and wave height. Boat counts were 2–5 times higher on weekend days than on weekdays. More boats were predicted on weekdays with good weather (defined as water temperature 24 °C, wave height 0.5 m), than weekends with decent weather (17 °C and 1 m). Considering weekends alone, those with good weather were predicted to have 5 times higher visitation than weekends with decent weather. Predicted visitation was highest on calm days, dropped by ∼75 % when wave height reached 1 m, and was essentially zero when wave height exceeded 1.5 m. Highest counts were predicted when water temperature was warmest and gradually declined as temperatures cooled. For the buoy camera and passive acoustic boat-count methods, power analysis suggested that 3–6 years of typical samples before and after a hypothetical 25 % increase in visitation would be needed to have an 80 % chance of detecting the change. Other techniques would take 14 or more years of typical samples. The process used here for investigating visitation can be adapted to other offshore or remote locations.
In 2001 Italy, France, and Principality of Monaco instituted a protected area for marine mammals in northwestern Mediterranean Sea, named the Pelagos Sanctuary. The agreement foresees the commitment by signing parties to manage human activities in the area, with a special mention to whale watching. Whale watching is a form of wildlife tourism which has considerably grown in the last decades. Understanding the profile of whale watchers and their satisfaction toward the activity, is the first step toward a sustainable and effective management of this touristic activity. In this work we provide the first analysis of the whale watching activity in the Pelagos Sanctuary, focusing on commercial whale watching tours departing from Italian harbors in Liguria. We provide a census of the activity and the results of close-ended questionnaires filled by whale watchers during trips in summer 2016 and 2017. The aim of the questionnaires was to understand the level of awareness of experienced and new whale watchers regarding the Pelagos Sanctuary and some conservation initiative going on in the area. Finally, we analyzed the satisfaction level, with the aim of evidencing weakness and strengths of the service offered. Our results evidence a growth in the activity in the last 15 years, with a wider differentiation of offers and impacting a larger area than previously found. Whale watchers in the area come from a variety of countries, demonstrating the importance of the Pelagos as a hot spot for this activity. A high level of satisfaction has been evidenced, with no difference among new and experienced whale watchers. At the same time, more effort is needed to increase awareness of Pelagos and its conservation initiative both at a national and international level. This study provides useful information for the start of an effective management of whale watching in this protected area.
Wild dolphin-swim tourism has grown in specific locations where Hawaiian spinner dolphins (Stenella longirostris) have known resting habitat. The increased growth in dolphin-swim businesses has created an industry in Hawaii that earns an estimated $102 million (USD) annually in 2013. Semi-structured interviews with business owners, market research, and boat-based observations provide a platform for estimating revenue generated from dolphin tourism in two popular locations, Waianae, Oahu and Kailua-Kona, Hawaii Island. A revenue analysis of dolphin-swim tourism is presented using a peak season and utilization rate model. These predictions offer an accountability exercise based on a series of assumptions regarding wild dolphin-swim demand and an annual estimate of the number of viewing participants and revenue earned. The results show that dolphin viewing companies are making a larger profit than dolphin-swim businesses by approximately $19 million (USD) per year, however, both avenues are generating large earnings. Sizable differences between businesses in Kona and Waianae are discussed. The average lifetime revenue generated by a dolphin in 2013 is estimated at $3,364,316 (USD) for Waianae and $1,608,882 (USD) for Kona, and is presented as a first step in scenario analysis for policy makers looking to implement management in the bays where tourism occurs. This study offers the first revenue estimates of spinner dolphin tourism in Hawaii, which can provide context for further discussion on the impact and economic role of the dolphin-swim industry in the state.
A key component of successful coastal management efforts is an effective communication and engagement strategy focused on raising awareness of a region to different stakeholders to encourage more pro-environmental behaviors. Accordingly, in recent times there has been a proliferation of research focused on improving engagement and communication with different users of the coastal environment. Despite this effort, a paucity of evidence is available to guide better communication and engagement with visitors (i.e., tourists). Addressing this knowledge gap is critical given the adverse impacts of current global coastal tourism on ecosystem health, and projected future increases in coastal tourism. Using a case study of the Ningaloo Coast World Heritage Area (WHA) in Australia, we contribute toward filling this gap by identifying visitors’ perception of the region and their self-reported and intended pro-environmental behaviors. We also identify the types of information they access and trust, and explore whether different message framings on the value of the WHA influence visitors’ intended pro-environmental behavior. We determine that although visitors to the Ningaloo Coast WHA are optimistic about the future sustainability of the region, they have low understanding of the rules and regulations in place to support its management. Further, we find that visitors consider tourism to be a serious threat to the future of the region. However, most participants in our study considered the quality of their own environmental behavior to be high, and thus not contributing to these threats, although this did differ by gender. Finally, we highlight that visitors to the Ningaloo Coast WHA, for the most part, obtain their knowledge of the region during their visit, primarily through local signage and visitors centers. We discuss the implications of these results, and highlight future considerations for coastal managers when developing visitor-focused communication and engagement strategies.