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Planning for stingray tourism at Hamelin Bay, Western Australia: the importance of stakeholder perspectives

Lewis, A. and Newsome, D. (2003) Planning for stingray tourism at Hamelin Bay, Western Australia: the importance of stakeholder perspectives. International Journal of Tourism Research, 5 (5). pp. 331-346.

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Stingray tourism continues to be developed at various locations around the world with the concept being marketed on television travel programmes, documentaries, internet sites and travel brochures. Food provisioned stingray tourism, for example, now attracts some 100 000 visitors a year to ‘tingray city’ in the Caymen Islands. At Hamelin Bay in southwest Western Australia, up to 16 large stingrays (Dasyatis brevicaudata and Dasyatis thetidis) and numerous eaglerays (Myliobatis australis) are fed by visitors from the waters edge. This study reports on stakeholder perspectives relating to tourism development and potential management of the Hamelin Bay site. From the results of this study it is clear that there is sufficient interest in stingray tourism (by all the stakeholders surveyed) to develop Hamelin Bay as a permanent feeding site. Visitors on average gave their experience with the rays a satisfaction value of 8.9 out of 10. Twenty-five per cent of visitors surveyed did not want commercialisation, tour groups or excessive visitor numbers. Their main concern was that the health and safety of the rays may deteriorate with an increase of visitors if the situation is not managed correctly. Visitors desire to be educated about the rays, and how to best interact with them safely. Visitors also acknowledged that the site needs management through more signs, information and a management plan. Management for the site is therefore likely to be best implemented through the application of signage, development of guidelines/codes of conduct, protection of the rays and zoning the beach according to specific recreational purposes. Management regimes should also use various indicators to monitor the impacts of stingray tourism at Hamelin Bay.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Environmental Science
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
Copyright: © 2003 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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