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Tsunami Impacts on Phuket's Diving Industry: Geographical Implications for Marine Conservation

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This article examines the impacts of the December 26, 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami on the scuba diving industry in Phuket, Thailand. Interviews were carried out to determine tsunami effects on dive tour companies, and post-dive questionnaires were distributed to ascertain recreational diver perceptions of tsunami effects on dive sites. Of the 65 companies in December, 2004, 42 were fully operational in April 2005. During the post-tsunami high season, 35 companies lost an average of 63.6 ± 40.5% days of diving, compared to an average season, amounting to a total of 4631 diving days. During this time, the diving industry was instrumental in post-tsunami rescue, relief, and restoration efforts. Despite high expectations for damage, tsunami effects on dive sites were not noticed by most recreational divers. Using a geographical perspective, this study highlights how tsunami effects on the diving industry have several implications for marine conservation in Thailand.
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Keywords: Indian Ocean tsunami; Phuket; marine conservation; scuba diving; sustainability

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Marine Protected Areas Research Group Department of Geography, University of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

Publication date: 2007-07-01

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