Ecotourism represents a highly popularised activity which has exhibited global growth in recent years. In the present paper, we examine the distribution, frequency, and economic value of shark-based ecotourism operations worldwide. A total of 376 shark ecotour operations across 83 locations and 8 geographic regions were identified. Here we describe the global and regional scope of the industry determine the species utilised in shark ecotourism activities; and examine the recreational usage values of sharks. Further, we conducted a case study of a shark tourism operation based in South Africa by analysing 12 years of demographical and economical data, revealing increasing trends in the total number of customers served and cost per trip over the sampling period. We also compare consumptive and non-consumptive values of shark resources and discuss the potential research and conservation implications of the industry to sharks worldwide.
- Biodiversity preservation
- Economic valuation
- Shark diving
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geography, Planning and Development
- Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management