Merits of whale watching tourism
Whale watching offers a number of opportunities how to contribute to the improved protection of whales and dolphins. However, to do so a necessary prerequisite is the compliance with the principles of sustainability, i.e. the ‘use’ of marine mammals does not affect the ecological equilibrium in the long term.
The chances & merits of whale watching tourism are:
- Important source of income for coastal villages, cities, regions and nations
- Valuable contribution to increasing environmental awareness (sensitization)
- Source of knowledge, input for scientific research and for conservation efforts
- Direct experience can ‘touch hearts’ and possibly results into change of (human) behavior
- Alternative to dolphinaria: whales and dolphins in their natural environment, ‘is what they truly are’
- Improvement of reputation of a place, region (nation)
- Possible therapeutic effect?
O’Connor, S., Campbell, R., Cortez, H., & Knowles, T., 2009, Whale Watching Worldwide: tourism
numbers, expenditures and expanding economic benefits, a special report from the International Fund for Animal Welfare, Yarmouth MA, USA, prepared by Economists at Large.