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A Review of Whale-Watching and Whaling with Applications for the Caribbean

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Whale-watching is a significant and growing tourism industry worldwide. Whaling has a long history and, although largely curtailed today, still occurs in a few countries around the world and in the Caribbean. Whaling has been labeled an incompatible activity with whale-watching because, in some cases, it reduces the number of whales available for use and changes whale behavior. Moreover, in some situations, whale-watching generates greater revenue than whaling, and whaling may detrimentally affect the larger tourism industry because of negative attitudes toward whaling by whale-watchers, other tourists, and host communities. This article examines the potential impacts of whaling on the whale-watching and tourism industries, and places these impacts in the Caribbean context. In doing so, the article outlines the history and current status of whale-watching in the Caribbean, outlines other potential constraints, and highlights the need for research about the impacts and roles of these industries. In the highly competitive global tourism industry, maintaining and nurturing a country's tourism image is critically important.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2002-10-01

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