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Developing and testing an assessment framework to guide the sustainability of the marine wildlife tourism industry

Rodger, K., Smith, A., Newsome, D. and Moore, S.A. (2011) Developing and testing an assessment framework to guide the sustainability of the marine wildlife tourism industry. Journal of Ecotourism, 10 (2). pp. 149-164.

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Growth in the marine wildlife tourism industry has been accompanied by concerns regarding its sustainability. This paper develops and tests a generic framework for assessing the sustainability of such ventures. The framework aims to guide the collection and collation of existing information and then use this information to identify current sustainability issues and information gaps. Development relied on a literature review and expert opinion. Testing was undertaken on whale shark tourism at Ningaloo Marine Park in north-western Australia. Evaluation of the framework suggests it has applicability (i.e. it is simple to use) and is useful, where usefulness refers to the ability to contribute to sustainable tourism management. Its reproducibility (i.e. providing consistent responses irrespective of the context) could only be determined through application to multiple case studies, a recommendation flowing from this study. The framework has at least three applications: improving existing marine wildlife tourism operations through reviewing their sustainability; developing an auditing mechanism as part of the licensing provisions for such tourism; and helping to determine the likely sustainability of proposed ventures. Overall, this framework provides an important opportunity to further develop the professionalism of the wildlife tourism sector through enhancing good practice.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Environmental Science
Publisher: Taylor & Francis.
Copyright: © 2011 Taylor & Francis
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