Merits of whale watching tourism

Delfine erleben

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.