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.
The impact of marine ecotourism on reef predators is poorly understood and there is growing concern that overcrowding in Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) may disturb the species that these areas were established to protect. To improve our understanding of this issue, we used acoustic telemetry to examine the relationship between human activity at the Molokini Marine Life Conservation District (MLCD) and the habitat use of five reef-associated predators (Caranx melampygus, Caranx ignobilis, Triaenodon obesus, Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos, and Aprion virscens). During peak hours of human use, there was a negative relationship (R2 = 0.77, P < 0.001) between the presence of bluefin trevally (Caranx melampygus) and vessels in subzone A. No other species showed strong evidence of this relationship. However, our results suggest that during this time, the natural ecosystem function that the reserve was established to protect may be compromised and overcrowding should be considered when managing MPAs.
Shark-diving is part of a rapidly growing industry focused on marine wildlife tourism. Our study aimed to provide an estimate of the economic value of shark-diving tourism across Australia by comprehensively surveying the whale shark (Rhincodon typus), white shark (Carcharodon carcharias), grey nurse shark (Carcharias taurus), and reef shark (mostly Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos and Triaenodon obesus) diving industries using a standardised approach. A socio-economic survey targeted tourist divers between March 2013 and June 2014 and collected information on expenditures related to diving, accommodation, transport, living costs, and other related activities during divers’ trips. A total of 711 tourist surveys were completed across the four industries, with the total annual direct expenditure by shark divers in Australia estimated conservatively at $25.5 M. Additional expenditure provided by the white-shark and whale-shark-diving industries totalled $8.1 and $12.5 M for the Port Lincoln and Ningaloo Reef regions respectively. International tourists diving with white sharks also expended another $0.9 M in airfares and other activities while in Australia. These additional revenues show that the economic value of this type of tourism do not flow solely to the industry, but are also spread across the region where it is hosted. This highlights the need to ensure a sustainable dive-tourism industry through adequate management of both shark-diver interactions and biological management of the species on which it is based. Our study also provides standardised estimates which allow for future comparison of the scale of other wildlife tourism industries (not limited to sharks) within or among countries.
Scuba diving tourism has the potential to be a sustainable source of income for developing countries. Around the world, tourists pay significant amounts of money to see coral reefs or iconic, large animals such as sharks and manta rays. Scuba diving tourism is broadening and becoming increasingly popular, a novel type of scuba diving which little is known about, is muck diving. Muck diving focuses on finding rare, cryptic species that are seldom seen on coral reefs. This study investigates the value of muck diving, its participant and employee demographics and potential threats to the industry. Results indicate that muck dive tourism is worth more than USD$ 150 million annually in Indonesia and the Philippines combined. It employs over 2200 people and attracts more than 100,000 divers per year. Divers participating in muck dive tourism are experienced, well-educated, have high incomes, and are willing to pay for the protection of species crucial to the industry. Overcrowding of dive sites, pollution and conflicts with fishermen are reported as potential threats to the industry, but limited knowledge on these impacts warrants further research. This study shows that muck dive tourism is a sustainable form of nature based tourism in developing countries, particularly in areas where little or no potential for traditional coral reef scuba diving exists.
Although critical tools for protecting ocean habitats, Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are sometimes challenged for social impacts and conflicts they may generate. Some conflicts have an economic base, which, once understood, can be used to resolve associated socioenvironmental problems. We addressed how the fish trade in an MPA that combines no-take zones and tourist or resident zones creates incentives for increased fisheries. We performed a value chain analysis following the fish supply and trade through interviews that assessed consumer demand and preference. The results showed a simple and closed value chain driven by tourism (70% of the consumption). Both tourists and local consumers preferred high trophic level species (predators), but the former preferred large pelagics (tuna and dolphinfish) and the latter preferred reef species (barracuda and snapper). Pelagic predators are caught with fresh sardines, which are sometimes located only in the no-take zone. Pelagic species are mainly served as fillet, and the leftover fish parts end up as waste, an issue that, if properly addressed, can help reduce fishing pressure. Whereas some of the target species may be sustainable (e.g., dolphinfish), others are more vulnerable (e.g., wahoo) and should not be intensively fished. We advise setting stricter limits to the number of tourists visiting MPAs, according to their own capacity and peculiarities, in order to avoid conflicts with conservations goals through incentives for increased resource use.
Global coral reef related tourism is one of the most significant examples of nature-based tourism from a single ecosystem. Coral reefs attract foreign and domestic visitors and generate revenues, including foreign exchange earnings, in over 100 countries and territories. Understanding the full value of coral reefs to tourism, and the spatial distribution of these values, provides an important incentive for sustainable reef management. In the current work, global data from multiple sources, including social media and crowd-sourced datasets, were used to estimate and map two distinct components of reef value. The first component is local “reef-adjacent” value, an overarching term used to capture a range of indirect benefits from coral reefs, including provision of sandy beaches, sheltered water, food, and attractive views. The second component is “on-reef” value, directly associated with in-water activities such diving and snorkelling. Tourism values were estimated as a proportion of the total visits and spending by coastal tourists within 30 km of reefs (excluding urban areas). Reef-adjacent values were set as a fixed proportion of 10% of this expenditure. On-reef values were based on the relative abundance of dive-shops and underwater photos in different countries and territories. Maps of value assigned to specific coral reef locations show considerable spatial variability across distances of just a few kilometres. Some 30% of the world's reefs are of value in the tourism sector, with a total value estimated at nearly US$36 billion, or over 9% of all coastal tourism value in the world's coral reef countries.