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Conservation and Economic Benefits of Wildlife-Based Marine Tourism: Sea Turtles and Whales as Case Studies

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Tourism development can have positive and/or negative impacts on wildlife. However, if wildlife tourism is developed in accordance with appropriate guidelines, such activity can be sustainable and can aid the conservation of species. Based on two case studies in Queensland, Australia, this article outlines the various economic and conservation benefits that can arise from wildlife-based tourism. Some of the benefits are direct, such as tangible economic benefits; others are less tangible, such as increased visitors' willingness to pay in principle for the conservation of species. Wildlife-based tourism, as these two studies demonstrate, could foster political support for the conservation of species utilized for such tourism by various mechanisms. These two case studies show that nonconsumptive uses of wildlife of sea turtles and whales at Mon Repos and Hervey Bay, respectively, are not only conditionally sustainable, but provide an economic alternative to consumptive use of these species.

Keywords: economic and conservation benefits; ecotourism; sea turtles; whales

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia

Publication date: April 1, 2003

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