New Economic Insights and Case Studies
Chapter 11: Whale-Watching as a Tourism Resource and as an Impetus for the Conservation of Whales
11. Whale-watching as a tourism resource and an impetus for the conservation of whales 11.1 INTRODUCTION In this chapter the economic, educational and conservation benefits resulting from commercial whale-watching and the conflict between the whalewatching industry and whale-harvesting and solutions suggested to the existing problem are examined. Hence, the title of this chapter. Since the late 1990s, cetacean-watching (including whales, dolphins and porpoises) has grown phenomenally around the world. Therefore, it is important to examine what contribution this activity is making to the conservation of cetaceans, in particular whales, and what other relevant issues should be considered. This is especially so for a transboundary common resource where the resource can be used for diametrically opposite purposes. For example, whales can be either harvested for consumptive purposes or used as a non-consumptive tourism attraction. In addition to their resource use values, whales have significant non-use values. This chapter highlights the economic, educational and conservation benefits from whale-watching which has become popular during the last few decades (see also Wilson and Tisdell, 2003). The chapter shows that these benefits are quite substantial and that whale-watching has undoubtedly influenced visitors’ attitudes towards the conservation of whales. Because of the large economic benefits generated by this industry in some locations, there is substantial political support for the conservation of whales. This is because if the population of whales declines so would the sightings ratio, which would also affect the number of whale-watchers (see, for example, Tisdell and Wilson, 2002). The education imparted as a...
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