Tourism in Marine Environments 12(2) Abstracts

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Tourism in Marine Environments, Vol. 12, No. 2, pp. 79-94
1544-273X/17 $60.00 + .00
DOI: https://doi.org/10.3727/154427316X
14820977775343
E-ISSN 2169-0197
Copyright © 2017 Cognizant, LLC.
Printed in the USA. All rights reserved.

Tourists’ Perspectives on Dolphin Watching in Bocas Del Toro, Panama

Ashley Sitar,* Laura J. May-Collado,† Andrew Wright,* Erin Peters-Burton,‡ Larry Rockwood,§ and E. C. M. Parsons*

*Department of Environmental Science and Policy, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA, USA
†University of Vermont, Department of Biology, Burlington, VT, USA
‡Educational Psychology Program, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA, USA
§Department of Biology, George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia, USA

The small resident population of bottlenose dolphins (
Tursiops truncatus) in Dolphin Bay, Bocas del Toro, is the target of the largest dolphin-watching industry in Panama. Previous work has shown that intense dolphin-watching activity is negatively affecting this dolphin population. Thus, understanding tourist’s preferences and views on dolphin watching may help to develop marketing and management strategies that can reduce the impact of this activity on the resident dolphin population. To generate this information, we interviewed a total of 129 tourists who were primarily first-time visitors to Bocas del Toro. Of these, 45% had been on a dolphin-watching trip locally, and a further 11% were planning to take a trip. Overall, tourists participating in these tours expressed low levels of satisfaction with local dolphin-watching practices due to the high density of boats present and their mode of approach to the animals. The majority of tourists stated that they would prefer a dolphin-watching trip on which the operator used good dolphin-watching practices, had licensed staff, and provided ecological information about the dolphins. These results indicate an urgent need to restructure the tourism industry in Bocas del Toro towards trips that are aligned with tourist interests and local conservation efforts. Such changes could significantly reduce the impact that unnecessarily high intensity dolphin watching is having on this small population of bottlenose dolphins. Simultaneously, this would increase tourist satisfaction and contribute to marine mammal conservation.

Key words: Whale watching; Bottlenose dolphin; Tursiops truncatus; Regulations; Sustainability; Tourist; Dolphin watchers; Environmental opinions; Environmental awareness; Panama

Address correspondence to E. C. M Parsons, Department of Environmental Science and Policy, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA, USA. Tel: +1-703-993-1211; E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


Tourism in Marine Environments, Vol. 12, No. 2, pp. 95-104
1544-273X/17 $60.00 + .00
DOI: https://doi.org/10.3727/154427316X
14779456049821
E-ISSN 2169-0197
Copyright © 2017 Cognizant, LLC.
Printed in the USA. All rights reserved.

Can Whale Watching be a Conduit for Spreading Educational and Conservation Messages? A Case Study in Juneau, Alaska

Gabrille Lopez* and Heidi C. Pearson†

*School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY, USA
†Department of Natural Sciences, University of Alaska Southeast, Juneau, Alaska, USA

Whale watching is growing in popularity, with over 100 countries participating in different forms of whale- and dolphin-watching activities. As the whale-watching industry increases, vessel traffic, as well as encounters between cetaceans and people, will increase. Although there are policies to reduce potential disturbance of the whales and/or dolphins, tour companies often face pressure to please their customers. It is thereby important to understand the experiences of passengers while recognizing the educational and conservation messages whale watches can spread to their passengers. Here, a case study of whale watching in Juneau, Alaska is presented, which investigates passenger knowledge, experience, attitude, and intentions regarding whales, whale watching, and conservation. Self-administered paper and pencil multiple answer choice surveys and researcher-administered interview surveys were conducted. The majority of passengers gained most of their knowledge about whales from that day’s whale watch, had no awareness of NOAA guidelines/regulations, and had no prior whale-watching experience. The top two determinants of whale-watching quality were getting close to whales and seeing whales do interesting behaviors. Most passengers placed high importance on seeing whales in the wild and were very likely to tell friends and family about what was learned on the tour. There was no significant relationship between awareness of NOAA guidelines and previous whale-watching experience or the top determinant of whale-watching quality (getting close to whales). Additionally, there were no significant relationships between importance of seeing whales in the wild and the likelihood of telling friends and family about what they learned, or joining or donating to an environmental or conservation organization. Interview surveys revealed a combination of in-depth knowledge and biased perceptions of whales. This study reveals the capacity for whale watching to advance public knowledge of cetaceans and marine conservation and the importance of managing passenger expectations.

Key words: Whale watching; Humpback whale; Passenger; Education; Knowledge; Conservation; Management; Regulation

Address correspondence to Heidi C. Pearson, Department of Natural Sciences, University of Alaska Southeast, 11120 Glacier Hwy, Juneau, AK 99801, USA. Tel: +1-907-796-6271; E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


Tourism in Marine Environments, Vol. 12, No. 2, pp. 105-124
1544-273X/17 $60.00 + .00
DOI: https://doi.org/10.3727/154427317X
14890156492368
E-ISSN 2169-0197
Copyright © 2017 Cognizant, LLC.
Printed in the USA. All rights reserved.

Microcluster Approach Applied to the Case of the Nautical Tourism Sector of the Algarve Region (Portugal)

Pedro Valadas Monteiro,* Regina Salvador,† and C. Guedes Soares*

*Centre for Marine Technology and Engineering (CENTEC)—IST/University of Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal
†Department of Geography and Regional Planning, School of Social Sciences and Humanities, Nova University of Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal

The article characterizes and evaluates the strategic role played by nautical tourism, in general, and by marinas, in particular, in terms of increasing Algarve’s competitiveness, reducing tourism seasonality, and generating multiplier effects in connected industries. Central to the analysis is the notion that a marina is an economic unit that provides concentrated services (as opposed to producing a physical product), working as an “anchor” for the surrounding firms and, as such, naturally giving rise to a local cluster. The adequacy to transfer the cluster concept from manufacture to tourism is also discussed. The methodology chosen is an application of the Porter cluster model to the nautical tourism sector in the Algarve, where each component of the diamond model (factor conditions, demand conditions, related and supporting industries, firms’ strategy, structure, and rivalry)—besides its two external factors (historical factors/chance and public policies)—is analyzed. The adopted Porter model is tested on each and every one of the above “diamond” dimensions based on statistical data, a literature review (which includes an international benchmarking analysis), and in primary data collected through a survey launched in 2014 to the totality of the Algarve companies in the sectors of nautical tourism and recreational boating, and interviews involving the Algarve marinas’ Chief Executive Officers (CEOs). Recommendations to strengthen the aspects identified as more problematic are also included as well as future research guidelines. In particular, the issue of coopetition, identified as a major weakness, is discussed both theoretically and empirically.

Key words: Algarve; Nautical tourism; Maritime economy; Marinas; Microclusters; Coopetition

Address correspondence to Pedro Valadas Monteiro, Centre for Marine Technology and Engineering (CENTEC)—IST/University of Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal. Tel: +351289870700; Fax: +351289816003; E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


Tourism in Marine Environments, Vol. 12, No. 2, pp. 125-137
1544-273X/17 $60.00 + .00
DOI: https://doi.org/10.3727/154427317X
694728
E-ISSN 2169-0197
Copyright © 2017 Cognizant, LLC.
Printed in the USA. All rights reserved.

REVIEW

Recent Advances in Whale-Watching Research: 2015–2016

E. C. M. Parsons and Danielle M. Brown

Department of Environmental Science and Policy, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA, USA

Whale-watching research encompasses a wide variety of disciplines and fields of study, from monitoring the biological impacts of whale-watching activities on cetaceans and assessments of the effectiveness of whale-watching management and regulations, to the sociological and economic aspects of whale watching. This article is the latest in a series of annual digests, which describes the variety and findings of whale-watching studies published June 2015 to May 2016.

Key words: Whale watching; Impacts; Bioenergetic modeling; Code of conduct; Regulations; Compliance; Management; Whale watchers; Education

Address correspondence to E. C. M. Parsons, Department of Environmental Science and Policy, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA 22030-4444, USA. E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it