Understanding the underlying causes of SCUBA diver contact with sensitive benthic organisms is critical for designing targeted strategies to address and manage diver impacts. For the marine tourism industry to maintain or expand current levels of recreational diving practices, ecologically sustainable management of dive sites is required. This study surveyed 400 SCUBA divers engaged in recreational diving in the subtropical reefs off eastern Australia. A combination of in-water observational research was conducted, with post-dive questionnaires. Linear regression techniques were employed to identify the variables that correlate the frequency of diver contacts with reef biota. Of the 17 variables tested, nine were found to significantly influence contact frequency. These were: the number of days since a diver's last dive, location of original certification, awareness and understanding of marine park zoning (3 variables), site selection, use of photographic equipment, total number of dives logged and diving depth. These results show that while a diver's long-term and recent experience can play a role, awareness of marine park regulations and unidentified differences in prior training (related to location) are also important, suggesting that education and training may provide viable alternatives to limiting diver access at sensitive locations.
This is the rst Guide to provide practical, science-based information for shark and ray tourism operators who want to offer the best possible experience to their customers, while conserving species and habitats and making a positive contribution to local communities. It provides guidance, and tools that can be tailored to local circumstances, enabling operators to improve the educational quality, safety, and sustainability of their businesses. It also gives practical information, based on the best available scientific data, to management authorities and others engaging with the industry.
This paper provides coastal scenic values of 100 sites along coastal Cuba by the use of a weighted, fuzzy logic, based checklist containing 26 physical/human factors. Sites were categorized into five classes from Class I, top grade scenery, to Class V, poor scenery. Seven beaches belonged to Class I, e.g. rural areas with a low impact of human activities and high scores of natural parameters. Most Class II beaches were located at international resort areas in cays having white coral sand beaches, turquoise water and vigorous vegetation together with a low impact of tourist developments because of appropriate location and design. Classes III, IV and V presented a wide distribution and their lower scores were linked to a poor environmental setting. Results allow for improvements to beach management plans to be formulated for current international tourist destinations (in cays) and other potentially attractive coastal areas at new developing tourist destinations.
The growing demand for new destinations, for new experiences, for different realities and cultures, the need for contact with authentic heritage, and the will to participate in the co-creation of experiences are marking the development of tourism for the future. The evolution of knowledge and demand in Tourism research, direct us on a new path of knowledge, a meeting between the strong presence of tourism in coastal areas and the still fragile tourism in rural areas. The aim of this paper is to present a coastal tourism development model in rural areas. The model was created based on key elements of tourism, tourism in rural areas and tourism in coastal areas, focusing on their relationship, complementarity and sustainability. The model intends to be innovative in creating a differentiated tourism market, based on new dimensions of knowledge on Tourism.
The Coastal Conservation and Education Foundation (CCEF), a Philippine environmental organization, in collaboration with Region 7 municipality leaders from Cebu, Leyte, and Bohol, as well as various financial donors, is striving to improve the marine resource management of the Outer Danajon Bank in the Philippines. One of the goals is to develop scuba dive tourism along the Outer Bank, beginning with the municipality of Bien Unido on Bohol Island. Despite previous efforts to attract investors and tourists by the Bien Unido mayor, dive tourism is currently absent from the municipality. During the summer of 2011, the mayor, the CCEF, and a private real estate developer, agreed to invest in infrastructure and livelihood training in Bien Unido for the purpose of developing a scuba dive tourism industry. This study analyzes current community viewpoints on the development of dive tourism in Bien Unido and four selected dive tourist cites. The study consists of thirty-four qualitative interviews conducted in Bien Unido and four other dive tourist sites as well as 1117 quantitative surveys conducted with community members throughout the central portion of the Philippines (Region 7). This study complements the Danajon Bank Marine Park Project of the CCEF and makes recommendations to improve the management of the Danajon Bank Double Barrier coral reef with protected areas and alternative livelihood projects linked to tourism development. The interviews served to define tourism and to document the specific needs of each barangay, or community, for tourism development. The qualitative survey revealed generally positive attitudes regarding scuba dive tourism development. Nintey-one percent of respondents believe tourism will help the barangay and most would participate in selling food/drink or being a recreational tour guide for tourists. Interview and survey respondents expectations that economic benefits will outweigh any social or environmental challenges, primarily alternative livelihoods and increased revenue for the municipality. Overall, Bien Unido and Region 7 community members will likely welcome visitors to their communities due to the expected benefits regardless of other negative environmental and social externalities such as increases in resource pressures and losses of tradition. Four additional municipalities were selected as “tourism developed sites” to further explore the negative and positive impacts of dive tourism, as perceived by the barangay captains or council, over a range of five to thirty years. These findings revealed challenges that were not mentioned in Bien Unido interviews or in the Region 7 qualitative surveys including changes in the price of living, increases in drug trafficking and sex trade, and private investors controlling community decisions.
Continued growth of tourism has led to concerns about direct and indirect impacts on the ecology of coral reefs and ultimate sustainability of these environments under such pressure. This research assessed impacts of reef walking by tourists on a relatively pristine reef flat community associated with an ‘ecoresort’ on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Heavily walked areas had lower abundances of live hard coral but greater amounts of dead coral and sediment. Abundances of macroalgae were not affected between sites. Coral-associated butterflyfish were less abundant and less diverse in more trampled sites. A manipulative experiment showed handling holothurians on reef walks had lasting negative impacts. This is the first study to show potential impacts of such handling on holothurians. Ecological impacts of reef walking are weighed against sociocultural benefits of a first hand experience in nature.
Profitability and competitiveness of the saltwater charter fishing industry is becoming more challenging in coastal communities. Adding value with non-consumptive experiences and targeting a broader range of marine tourists may enhance industry sustainability as well as broaden opportunities for public access to marine waters. This study explored industry beliefs about capabilities for implementing new or enhanced services as a means to understand capacity for adding non-consumptive value. Semi-structured interviews and a written self-assessment survey were administered to 43 charter operators licensed in coastal South Carolina, USA during the summer of 2012. Operators gave high ratings to their knowledge relevant to providing outreach on expanded topics, but were less confident about their marketing, networking (within the industry and with the tourism industry), and customer service skills. Consumer demand information was also desired.
For marine resource managers, this research identifies the information most needed for captains to add non-consumptive value. This research also highlights the importance of marine resource managers about understanding the perception of issues for charter boat captains, specifically from a regulatory standpoint. For charter boat captains, this research suggests that most captains would support collaboration between other charter boat captains, local communities, and tourism promotion organizations. However, captains are not well equipped to establish these relationships. Finally, the identification of potential value-added services may be helpful in developing and diversifying the charter boat industry.
Despite rapid growth in the marine tourism sector, the impacts of recreation on the marine environment are generally not well understood. Most existing studies of marine recreation ecology have focused on behavioural changes resulting from direct interactions between humans and wildlife including provisioning. However, non-consumptive, non-provisioning human impacts may also result in persistent behavioural impacts to shark populations. In this study, we examined differences in residency, abundance, and behaviour of reef sharks at Palmyra Atoll in response to long-term SCUBA diving activity, using a combination of survey techniques including baited remote underwater video systems and multi-year passive acoustic monitoring. In most locations with recreational diving operations, some level of human impact is pervasive, but on Palmyra, extractive fishing is prohibited, and scientific diving activities are concentrated on just a few sites that house long-term monitoring projects. These sites experience relatively intensive diving, while the majority of the island is entirely undived. Evidence from elsewhere has shown that sharks behaviourally respond to people in the water over short time scales, but our results indicate that this response may not persist. We did not detect differences in reef shark abundance or behaviour between heavily dived and undived locations, nor were there differences in shark residency patterns at dived and undived sites in a year with substantial diving activity and a year without any diving. Our results suggest that humans can interact with reef sharks without persistent behavioural impacts, and that well-regulated shark diving tourism can be accomplished without undermining conservation goals.
The increasing popularity of marine wildlife tourism (MWT) worldwide calls for assessment of its conservation outcomes and the development of appropriate management frameworks to ensure the conservation of the species and habitats involved as well as the long-term sustainability of this industry. While many studies have examined the positive and/or negative implications of particular forms of MWT, few have attempted to identify factors of concern shared across different types of marine tourism, or examine their implications for sustainability in a broader perspective. We reviewed the existing literature to highlight common impacts on animal behaviour, health and ecology, and to identify successful cases based on minimal negative affects and/or lack of chronic/irreversible impacts on target species or habitats. To ensure the achievement of both economic and ecologic objectives, the following steps should be integrated in MWT management: 1) Increase of research on the biology and ecology of target species/habitat and application of relevant information for the development of suitable policies, frameworks and management strategies; 2) Structured enforcement of existing policies and enhancement of ecological awareness of visitors through active education; 3) Application of an adaptive management framework to continuously improve the codes of conduct employed; 4) Involvement of different stakeholders and local communities in the development and improvement of the MWT activity. Combining these strategies with the extrapolation of frameworks and policies from cases where adverse ecological impacts have been addressed and successfully resolved can further contribute in ensuring the long-term health and conservation of the species/habitats involved in MWT activities.
In the past three years, the MEET project supported 25 Protected Areas (PAs) in the Mediterranean region in their sustainable tourism development and in the improvement of their ecotourism offers. Building on the knowledge, experiences and lessons learned from these PAs belonging to 10 countries of the Mediterranean (Italy, France, Spain, Jordan, Lebanon, ROWA, Malta, Cyprus, Greece and Tunisia), the MEET Network has released the “MEET Manual – A guide to discover the MEET approach”. The main objective of this manual is to provide local people, businesses, NGOs and especially protected area managers with a clear pathway to plan and improve ecotourism in their territory.
By reading this Manual you will acquire many useful tips about how to create and develop successful Mediterranean ecotourism related products and activities. Indeed, you will learn about what it takes to establish a local cluster of complementary partnerships. This will help you increase the number of visitors to your area, while conserving your protected area in a way that meets the MEET criteria and it will also make you eligible to become a partner of the MEET Network!
The Manual is the result of a process of collaboration that began in 2011 and finalized in 2015 within the framework of the Mediterranean Experience of Ecotourism — MEET Project.