New Economic Insights and Case Studies
12. Little penguins and other seabirds as tourist drawcards 12.1 INTRODUCTION This chapter demonstrates the existence of economic, educational and conservation benefits from the little (or ‘fairy’) penguin nature-based tourism venture on Phillip Island, Victoria, Australia and shows the potential for similar ventures elsewhere. As background to this chapter, bird-watching in general and seabird-viewing in particular will be discussed, after which the case study conducted on Phillip Island will be presented, highlighting some of the positive and negative aspects of this highly successful and popular form of nature-based tourism activity. Australia, surrounded by sea and with a vast coastline with numerous islands and coral cays, is home to a diverse number of seabird species (see, for example, Kirkwood and O’Connor, 2010). There are several regions or areas where there are large aggregations of seabirds, both resident and migrant. There is considerable potential to use this biological resource for nature-based tourism purposes, which until now has been underutilised relative to opportunities available. This resource can be used for both general nature-based tourism and for site-specific single-species seabirdbased tourism purposes. There are several benefits that can be derived in utilising this potentially valuable resource. One of the major benefits is that this tourism can be used for conserving seabirds and also to support the conservation of other wild species utilising the habitats and ecosystems used by seabirds. Other potential benefits include generating revenue for the local regions and educating the public about factors affecting wildlife in general and seabirds in particular. Since...
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