This article examines the evolution of whale watching in Hervey Bay, Queensland in relation to the Butler tourism life cycle model, and Duffus and Dearden's conceptual framework for wildlife tourism. It analyses official visitation data, wildlife records, tour operations information,
and interviews with tour operators and the protected area management agency. The results indicate that changing visitor and commercial operator numbers and profiles, increasing regional competition, and a changing relationship with the protected area managers may be symptomatic of a maturing
industry that has reached a watershed point in its sustainability. The findings of this research have implications for tourism stakeholders including planners, protected area managers, and tour operators in relation to changing sector demands and proactive adaptation to those changes.
Tourism in Marine Environments is an interdisciplinary journal dealing with a variety of management issues in marine settings. It is a scientific journal that draws upon the expertise of academics and practitioners from various disciplines related to the marine environment, including tourism, marine science, geography, social sciences, psychology, environmental studies, economics, marketing, and many more.