In depth industry papers on shark tourism are a must read.The Ningaloo Coast region of Western Australia has been a mainstay for sustainable whale shark tourism for the past decade. A new paper is now out.
Whale shark tourism is an icon industry in Western Australia and a prominent example of successful ecotourism. In 2006, whale shark tour participants spent $6.0 million in the Ningaloo Coast region of Western Australia and added between $2.4 million and $4.6 million to the regional economy in direct expenditure. However, to date no research has been conducted on the predictors of whale shark tour participants' expenditure. In this article, we assess the importance of visitor expenditure for ecotourism, assess the predictors of the expenditure of whale shark tour participants and discuss how this information can contribute towards ecotourism goals. The data analysed here were collected through a survey distributed to participants between April and June 2006.
We assess a range of variables for their relationship to individual expenditure per trip and determine that the duration of stay, household income, age, staying in a hotel, trip motivation and being from North America or Southeast Asia positively correlate with individual expenditure per trip. Group size and originating from Germany or the United Kingdom and Ireland negatively correlate with expenditure. In addition to identifying future steps, we also discuss the relevance of our finding that more motivated participants have a higher expenditure for ecotourism.
Link to report.