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Open Access Whale Watching in Northern Peru: An Economic Boom?

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Whale-watching tourism is growing rapidly worldwide. Currently, it occurs in more than 119 countries and is estimated to produce more than US$2.5 billion in annual revenue. In northern Peru, this industry is relatively new, and the economic impact generated from whale watching remains unknown. This study was designed to provide an assessment of the economic impact of whale-watching activity in northern Peru. In this area the activity is focused on humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae). In 2018, we conducted surveys to 199 whale-watch tourists and six tour companies to estimate the economic impact of the activity. Our results indicate that whale watching of humpback whales is currently worth an estimate of US$3 million annually as a tourist attraction, an economic input that did not exist in the region 10 years ago. This activity has a significant potential for further growth; however, there is an urgent need for guidelines and regulations to ensure a sustainable and well-managed whale-watch tourism industry.

Keywords: ECONOMIC IMPACT; EXPENDITURES; HUMPBACK WHALES; SUSTAINABILITY; TOURISM INDUSTRY

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 3, 2020

This article was made available online on February 17, 2020 as a Fast Track article with title: "Whale-watching in Northern Peru: An economic boom?".

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  • 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.
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