Marine wildlife tourism: education and conservation benefits

Zeppel, Heather, and Muloin, Sue (2007) Marine wildlife tourism: education and conservation benefits. In: Proceedings of the 5th International Coastal and Marine Tourism Congress, pp. 430-446. From: 5th International Coastal and Marine Tourism Congress: Balancing Marine Tourism, Development and Sustainability, 11-15 SEP 2007, Auckland, New Zealand.

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Abstract

Marine wildlife tourism can provide a range of education and conservation benefits for visitors. These benefits derive from close personal encounters with marine wildlife and visitor leaming about marine species and ocean environments. There has been limited assessment of marine wildlife tourism experiences and educational programs to identify whether these increase tourist knowledge, promoting attitudinal shifts and also lifestyle changes that aid marine conservation and help to conserve marine wildlife. The on-site and longer-term conservation intentions, or behaviours, of visitors that benefit marine wildlife and environments have also been little evaluated. This paper reviews the education and conservation benefits of marine wildlife experiences in Australia using Oram's (1999) framework of indicators to manage marine tourism. The key indicator for tourists assessed in this paper is behaviour/lifestyle change that benefits marine species, along with three indicators of conservation outcomes for marine environments. Information is drawn from selected case studies of research on guided tourist encounters with whales, dolphins and marine turtles from 1996 to 2007, mainly in Australia. This analysis found tourist learning during mediated encounters with marine wildlife contributes to pro-environmental attitudes and improved on-site behaviour changes, with some longer-term intentions to engage in conservation actions that benefit marine species.

Item ID: 3169
Item Type: Conference Item (Refereed Research Paper - E1)
Keywords: marine wildlife tourism; interpretation; education benefits; environmental behaviour; conservation actions
Additional Information:

ISBN: 978-1-877314-66-7
Date Deposited: 14 Oct 2009 02:54
FoR Codes: 16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1605 Policy and Administration > 160513 Tourism Policy @ 100%
SEO Codes: 90 COMMERCIAL SERVICES AND TOURISM > 9003 Tourism > 900302 Socio-Cultural Issues in Tourism @ 100%
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