Using multiple indicators to evaluate the sustainability of dolphin-based wildlife tourism in rural India

D'Lima, Coralie, Everingham, Yvette, Diedrich, Amy, Mustika, Putu L., Hamann, Mark, and Marsh, Helene (2018) Using multiple indicators to evaluate the sustainability of dolphin-based wildlife tourism in rural India. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 26 (10). pp. 1687-1707.

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Assessing wildlife tourism sustainability in developing countries is crucial, but few studies analyse the sustainability of dolphin-based wildlife tourism in this context. We measure multiple indicators within the human dimensions of wildlife tourism, including tourist visitation numbers, satisfaction, preferences, perceptions, background and specialisation, to ascertain the extent to which the dolphin-watching industry at Chilika Lagoon, in rural India might be considered sustainable. Our methods included participant observation, tourist surveys, and the use of secondary data on visitation over 10 years. We found that the growth rate of tourist visitation over 10 years was beginning to decline. Tourists were mostly inexperienced, and dissatisfied with their dolphin-watching experience. Tourist preferences and perceptions showed useful insights and shortcomings in the way in which the industry was being conducted and managed, and reflected the expectations of non-specialist visitors. Our study highlights drawbacks in the way that wildlife tourism is managed in a rural, developing world context, which draws the sustainability of the dolphin-watching industry in Chilika into question. Future development of an early warning system that addresses combined governance or managerial, social, economic and ecological indicators, and an integrated management plan for conservation and wildlife tourism could contribute to the sustainable management of such industries.

Item ID: 56041
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1747-7646
Date Deposited: 06 Nov 2018 23:17
FoR Codes: 41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410407 Wildlife and habitat management @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9606 Environmental and Natural Resource Evaluation > 960604 Environmental Management Systems @ 100%
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