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.
Marine ecosystems play a central role in economic and social life in the Republic of Palau, a Small Island Developing State in the Western Pacific. Marine resources underpin subsistence and commercial fisheries, as well as tourism activities, contributing substantially to Palau's GDP and employment. Since 1992, Palau has been actively developing conservation initiatives to protect marine resources, promote ecotourism, and ensure revenue generation. Marine reserves represent a particularly important tool in the country's sustainable development strategy. In 2015, Palau designated 80% of its marine EEZ as a National Marine Sanctuary, with the remaining 20% slated for domestic fisheries. That same year, Palau received 160 thousand tourists, over 9 times the country's population. In early 2017, the President proposed a bill effectively limiting budget travel and actively promoting high-end tourism. This study uses a quantitative social-ecological model to explore policy scenarios involving tourism, marine conservation and local food security. While climate change had the largest expected impact on local ecosystems, reef fish consumption contributes considerably to future projected declines in marine resources. Therefore, for Palau to achieve its goals of boosting revenues while sustainably stewarding marine resources, it will be necessary to transfer some level of consumption from reef fish on to tuna and other pelagics. Such changes, which align with the current proposal of developing an offshore national fishery as part of the Sanctuary's management plan, may allow Palau to meet future seafood demand, while protecting reef systems and the industries that rely on them.
Marine debris is the most conspicuous pollutant that makes beaches aesthetically unappealing to users. The perceptions and reactions of beach users to stranded litter were compared between second-home owners and users (SHOU) and non-recurrent tourists (T). A questionnaire was applied to obtain socio-economic characteristics; assessment of the overall beach quality and perception of beach litter pollution (perception); hypothetical scenarios of marine litter pollution and deterrence (reaction); and potential alternative destinations in the case of deterrence (economic effect). Questionnaires (n = 319) were applied at two Brazilian subtropical beaches, with different physiographical settings (Pontal do Sul, PS, estuarine beach; Ipanema, I, open-ocean beach). Beach users’ groups differed regarding daily expenses (T > SHOU), period of permanence per trip (SHOU > T) and trip frequency (SHOU > T). The open-ocean beach (I) was rated the worst regarding overall beach quality. Marine debris generation was mainly attributed to local “beach users”, in the open-ocean beach (I). “Marine” (or non-local) sources were four times more frequently cited in the estuarine beach (PS). Perception on actual litter pollution and litter deterrence scenarios, did not vary between beaches or groups. More than 85% of beachgoers would avoid a beach visit if a worst scenario (> 15items/m2) occurred and most users would choose a neighboring state beach destination. Stranded litter may potentially reduce local tourism income by 39.1%, representing losses of up to US$ 8.5 million per year. These figures are proxies to support the trade-off local authority's make between investments to prevent/remove beach litter and the potential reduction in income from a tourist destination change.
Emergy analysis was applied to three municipalities (Portofino, Santa Margherita Ligure and Rapallo) of the Liguria Region coast, where tourism and cruise tourism are thriving. The results were compared with traditional economic indices. The territorial assessment of the municipalities was analysed by comparing the environmental costs with the economic benefits, focusing on tourism and cruise tourism. Similarities and differences among the case studies emerged. The three economies resulted as being driven by the tertiary sector, but consequences from the different development strategies came to light. Portofino has developed an elite type of tourism with greater attention devoted to the environment. This is mirrored by a sort of safeguarding of tourism and natural resources and by the detriment of the productive sector’s success, on the contrary, in Rapallo. Santa Margherita lies in a boundary condition. The cruise tourism sector was analysed in these contexts. The ecological and economic impacts of the cruise sector were revealed to be significant only in Portofino, being less than 1% in Rapallo and Santa Margherita Ligure. The load imposed on the local environment by cruise ship tourism was calculated, and Portofino showed a limited condition, while Santa Margherita Ligure and Rapallo exceeded the local carrying capacity. This is due to the different management approaches pursued: only in Portofino is the territory more able to absorb the impact, although the limit is currently reached. As a consequence it appears to be evident that such phenomena as cruise tourism, albeit economically promising in the short term, should be managed with a long-term perspective, integrating them into the local context and setting up strategies for impact reduction or mitigation.
Scuba diving and snorkeling with manta rays (M. birostris, M. alfredi) at sites in Hawaii, USA, have become popular, with upward of 30 tour boats and 300 participants daily. This article examined whether conflicts are occurring within and between these activities and if so, what types of conflict are prevalent and how would participants respond (support restrictions, sanction others). Data from surveys of 444 participants following evening trips to view manta rays showed that 79% of snorkelers experienced in-group conflict with other snorkelers, and 53% of scuba divers reported conflict with other divers. Most conflicts were interpersonal (physical interactions among individuals interfering with experiences). Conflict behaviors included bumping into people (up to 92%), not being aware (up to 73%), and blinding people with underwater flashlights (up to 56%). There were fewer out-group conflicts between different activities (snorkelers vs. scuba divers) and minimal social values conflicts (negative preconceptions, no physical interactions among individuals). Participants supported limiting numbers of snorkelers, scuba divers, and boats, and providing education on how to behave with others. Those experiencing conflicts were more supportive of these strategies and more likely to directly sanction participants causing conflicts, but were not more likely to indirectly sanction managers and operators.
Tourism focused on the “3Ss” (sun, sand and sea) has increased sharply in recent decades, which has subsequently led to the modification of natural areas of sandy beaches with the implementation of relevant infrastructure to meet the requirements and demands of beach users. Although the development of infrastructure and tourist services has increased for the beaches in northern Chile associated with coastal urban centers, these beaches have not implemented strategies to evaluate and help guide sustainable use. We used different indices to describe the seven state tourist beaches of the Región de Coquimbo. For most of the beaches, based on the Conservation Index (CI) and the Recreation Index (IR), a priority use of an "intensely recreational" character was recommended because of the low potential for conservation. Similarly, most of the beaches showed high levels of urbanization (IU). According to the Beach Quality Index (BQI), the quality of the beaches was assessed at an intermediate level. The application of these indices identified shortcomings in the levels of tourism infrastructure and security offered to users. The function of beaches to protect against natural events was extremely poor, likely because of changes to the beach dune ridges. The incorporation of assessment tools that integrate different indicators to help organize information, prioritize actions, and facilitate decision-making in the sustainable management of tourist beaches is strongly recommended for northern Chile.
This article examines the impact of marine ecosystem quality on inbound coastal tourism in the Baltic, North Sea, and Mediterranean countries. Using marine protected areas (MPAs) and the fraction of overexploited species as a proxy for marine ecosystem quality, we apply an autoregressive distributed lag model in a destination–origin panel setup. The empirical findings suggest that the presence of MPAs and the fraction of overexploited species have a considerable impact on inbound coastal tourism. Moreover, the impact of the overexploitation index on tourism is persistent and its short-term (current) impact constitutes 65% of the long-term impact. The results underscore the importance of marine ecosystem quality for inbound coastal tourism and its overall impact that may exceed the impact of tourists’ income. We also find that government performance is crucial for inbound tourism.
A radio-acoustic positioning system was used to assess the effects of shark cage-diving operators (SCDO) on the fine-scale movements of a non-focal species, the smooth stingray Bathytoshia brevicaudata. The results revealed that the time spent in the array was individually variable, but generally increased when SCDO were present and that the presence of SCDO may have the capacity to elicit changes in the space use of B. brevicaudata. These results indicate that the effects of marine wildlife tourism may extend beyond the focal species of interest.
This paper examines the issue of climate change pedagogy and social action in tourism, with particular interest in globally-significant destinations under threat from climate change. Little is understood of the role and responsibility of visitors as key stakeholders in climate change-related action or the potential of such sites to foster environmental learning, as well as social and political action on climate change. Drawing on insights from Aldo Leopold and John Dewey, it is argued here that destinations that are valued intrinsically for their ecological and cultural importance are (or ought to be) sites of enjoyment and pedagogy, facilitating experiential learning, care, responsibility and civic action towards their conservation. An exploratory case study of visitors to the Great Barrier Reef offers corroborative insights for such a “reef ethic” as described in this paper, related to visitor experience, learning and action in this World Heritage Area. The results of this paper support the need for a stronger pedagogic role to be adopted by tourism experience providers and site managers to facilitate climate change literacy and responsible action (hence facilitating global environmental citizenship). Their responsibility and that of reef visitors is discussed further.
Tourism is a financing mechanism considered by many donor-funded marine conservation initiatives. Here we assess the potential role of visitor entry fees, in generating the necessary revenue to manage a marine protected area (MPA), established through a Global Environmental Facility Grant, in a temperate region of Chile. We assess tourists’ willingness to pay (WTP) for an entry fee associated to management and protection of the MPA. Results show 97 % of respondents were willing to pay an entrance fee. WTP predictors included the type of tourist, tourists’ sensitivity to crowding, education, and understanding of ecological benefits of the MPA. Nature-based tourists state median WTP values of US$ 4.38 and Sun-sea-sand tourists US$ 3.77. Overall, entry fees could account for 10–13 % of MPA running costs. In Chile, where funding for conservation runs among the weakest in the world, visitor entry fees are no panacea in the short term and other mechanisms, including direct state/government support, should be considered.