Management of protected areas is as much about understanding how society values these resources as it is about understanding ecological processes. Yet, in comparison to standard ecosystem monitoring and economic evaluation, social values are frequently overlooked because of the challenge to measure and define them. As marine protected areas are currently the fastest growing protected area type, this article argues the need to incorporate social value assessment in planning and policy decisions to improve ecological and social outcomes. This study surveyed 675 white shark (Carcharodon carcharias) cage-dive participants to investigate how tourists' value the Neptune Islands group (Ron and Valerie Taylor) Marine Park. Applying a value typology previously used in forests, respondents were able to identify with 13 distinct values. Results demonstrate that tourists hold biocentric, indirect use, and nonconsumptive values of the marine park as most important. The relevance of these results as an indicator of tourists' preference for management decisions is discussed.
Tourism represents an important opportunity to provide sustainable funding for many ecosystems, including marine systems. Tourism that is reliant on aggregating predator species in a specific area using food provisioning raises questions about the long-term ecological impacts to the ecosystem at large? Here, using opportunistically collected video footage, we document that 61 different species of fish across 16 families are consuming tuna flesh at two separate shark dive tourism operations in the Republic of Fiji. Of these fish, we have resolved 55 to species level. Notably, 35 (63%) of the identified species we observed consuming tuna flesh were from ostensibly non-piscivorous fishes, including four Acanthuridae species, a group primarily recognized as browsers or grazers of algae and epibenthic detritus. Our results indicate that shark diving is having a direct impact on species other than sharks and that many species are facultatively expanding their trophic niches to accommodate the hyperabundance of resources provided by ecotourism.
Alternative livelihood projects are criticised as having minimal effect on biodiversity conservation. Studies are rare and where success is claimed, outcomes and reasons why projects work, have not been documented. Livelihoods are an essential element of sustainable integrated coastal management, an accepted framework for conserving coral reefs and marine resources in the tropics. It is not known whether alternative livelihood projects contribute to the goal of improving biodiversity conservation through sustainable integrated coastal management. Here, we examine Oslob Whale Sharks, an alternate livelihoods project in the Philippines built on provisioning whale sharks for community based dive tourism. We investigate how Oslob Whale Sharks contributes to sustainable integrated coastal management and whether it has any effect on biodiversity conservation. Using key stakeholder interviews with artisanal fishers, their community, local politicians and government, we found that Oslob Whale Sharks contributes to all nine factors required for sustainable integrated coastal management. Fishers and local authorities report their perception that whale sharks are protected from poaching and finning and destructive fishing has decreased, while fish abundance, pelagic fish species and catch have increased. Our findings further suggest that as there is little evidence that this type of tourism has any negative impacts on the biology or behaviour of whale sharks, Oslob Whale Sharks provides sustainable livelihoods and a delivery mechanism for sustainable integrated coastal management.
Coastal tourism has been supported by the growth of middle-class tourist markets, promoted by governments who view it as an important avenue for economic growth and backed by environmental organisations who regard it as an alternative, more environmentally sustainable livelihood than capture fisheries. How policymakers and households in coastal areas negotiate the challenges and opportunities associated with growing tourism and declining capture fisheries is increasingly important. Drawing on extended ethnographic fieldwork from the Philippines between 2006 and 2018, this paper examines the transition from fishing to tourism and the consequences for one coastal community. I focus on land tenure as a key variable that shapes the effects and opportunities associated with livelihood transitions from fishing to tourism. While tourism has not been inherently positive or negative, the ability of local households to negotiate the boom and obtain the full benefits out of it is questionable. Many fishers have switched their primary livelihood activity to tourism, including the construction of tourist boats, working as tour guides or providing accommodation. However, the growth of tourism has prompted several attempts to evict the community, including from local elites who aimed to develop resorts on the coast and a recent push by the national administration to ‘clean up’ tourist sites around the country. I argue that land tenure in coastal communities should be more of a focus for researchers working in small-scale fisheries, as well as for researchers working on land rights.
This article aims to provide a critical view of the global scientific production involved in cruise tourism study. Global references in this field were identified and emphasised for managing existing data to establish ‘bridges’ among researchers. Scientometric analysis was conducted on publications about cruise tourism in mainstream journals integrated into Web of Science. This methodology enabled us to identify current topics, relevant journals, authors, institutions, profitable countries, ‘visible’ and ‘invisible’ collaborative colleges and the research areas considered as the epicentre of the cruise tourism debate. A significant contribution of this work is the use of indicators at the three levels of scientometric complexity, i.e. scientific activity, impact and relational character.
Pulau Redang and Pulau Tioman have experienced huge tourism growth over the last two decades, but minimal sewage treatment may threaten the resilience of their coral reefs. This study uses stable isotope techniques to identify suitable bioindicators of sewage nutrients (δ15N) at these islands by measuring macroalgae (Lobophora spp.), gastropods (Drupella spp.), scleractinian coral (Acropora spp.), and leather coral (Sinularia spp.). At tourist hubs using seepage septic tank systems, enrichment of Acropora δ15N (Redang, +0.7‰) and Sinularia δ15N (Tioman, +0.4‰) compared to pristine background levels indicate enhanced sewage nutrient discharge. Carbon isotopes and survey data suggest that sedimentation did not confound these δ15N trends. Potential damaging effects of sewage discharge on the coral reef communities at both islands are highlighted by strong correlations between Acropora δ15N and regional variation in coral reef community structure, and exclusive occurrence of degraded reefs at regions of high sewage influence.
Tourists often travel to experience the natural beauty of a destination such as the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) in Australia. This nature-based destination attracts millions of tourists every year because of its outstanding underwater aesthetics. Recently, parts of the GBR have been degraded by warming sea temperatures and other local anthropogenic influences, threatening the Reef aesthetics and tourism in the region. In order to deal with this topical issue, the current research investigates tourists’ aesthetic assessment of environmental changes in the GBR ecosystem. Research outcomes indicate that tourists’ perceived beauty of the Reef is sensitive to environmental changes. The disappearance of sea animals (colourful fish, turtle), degrading coral and decreasing water quality negatively influence their aesthetic assessment, which can reduce tourist visitation in the long-term. Hence, sustainable tourism development in the GBR regions can only be achieved when government support for environmental management is strengthened. Conservation programs of the GBR should expand beyond coral restoration for controlling water quality, reducing pollution and protecting aesthetically appealing sea animals.
Tourism plays a vital role in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Achieving sustainable tourism is a continuous process, requiring the informed participation of all relevant stakeholders, as well as strong political leadership to ensure broad participation and consensus building (Making Tourism More Sustainable - A Guide for Policy Makers, United Nations Environment Programme and United Nations World Tourism Organization, 2005, p.11–12).
Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are special areas of the marine environment specifically established and managed, through legal or other effective mechanisms, to “achieve the long-term conservation of nature with associated ecosystem services and cultural values” (Day et al., International Union for Conservation of Nature, 2012). Tourism development has been considered a key accompanying strategy in creating alternative livelihood options for communities living adjacent to MPAs, particularly in Nha Trang Bay (NTB), where the first MPA was...
Scuba diving continues to be one of the most popular recreational activities in marine tourism, but its sustainability is currently threatened due to environmental, social, political, and economic risks. The East African Marine Ecoregion is renowned for its richness in marine fauna and flora, including some of the Indian Ocean's most diverse and abundant coral reef ecosystems, making it a popular destination for scuba divers. However, empirical evidence suggests that external risks (international and domestic) are impacting on dive operators in the region, creating the need to better understand these impacts. This research was therefore aimed at identifying the most significant of these external risks from the perspective of dive operators, via an explorative and descriptive study. The qualitative and quantitative primary data collected revealed that domestic and international economic and political risks have the greatest impact on dive operators in the East African Marine Ecoregion, and this trend is expected to continue. Environmental degradation of coral reefs, while not seen as a threat to dive operators at present, constitutes a key threat within the near future. In terms of the variation in perceived risk across the region, Kenya suffers most from social and political risks, Tanzania from environmental risks, Mozambique from political risks, and South Africa from economic risks. The research contributes to Africa's Blue Economy, which aims to guide African countries in sustainable use of the marine environment while harnessing its social and economic benefits. The findings create awareness of the impact of external risks on regional dive operators and their significance. Furthermore, they create an opportunity for decision makers and stakeholders in the region to craft solutions to improve the sustainability of the scuba diving industry.
In the last few winters, shark communities have been aggregating near the Israeli Mediterranean coast, at a specific point, near Hadera power station. This unusual phenomenon has fascinated residents, visitors, kayakers, divers, and swimmers. We analyse the effects of this intense human interest on the sharks, using contingent behaviour, in Hadera and in Ashkelon, where sharks are present and there is available infrastructure for their observation. We also report on changes in shark behaviour due to change in tourism intensity. We find a change of about ILS 4.1 million annually for both sites but a larger individual consumer surplus in Hadera, where sharks are currently observable. Touristic intensity crosses the threshold level by about 12% and making the socio-equilibrium sustainable for both humans and sharks would have a social cost of ILS 0.157 million. This paper, which is based on the assessment of conservation values to marine and coastal tourists, raises a need for spatial planning in order to protect this endangered species.