Chapter 34: Using aquariums and their visitor experiences to promote ecotourism goals: issues and best practice
While zoos and aquariums are generally grouped together as visitor attractions that feature wildlife, aquariums, with their focus on aquatic animals and ecosystems, have some unique challenges and concomitantly distinctive advantages when using their facilities to promote ecotourism goals. While there is an increasing body of research looking at the role of zoos in ecotourism, very little attention has been paid to aquariums (Frost & Roehl, 2008; Mason, 2000). The oceans cover over 70 per cent of the surface of the Earth, yet remain the most unexplored part of our planet. The oceans help to regulate the Earth’s climate, provide most of the world’s oxygen, soak up carbon dioxide, supply 2.9 billion people with at least 15 per cent of their average per capita animal protein intake (FAO, 2009), transport goods and people and provide employment and recreation.
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