Global shark currency: the distribution, frequency, and economic value of shark ecotourism

Published on 01. June 2011

Austin J. Gallagher and Neil Hammerschlag.


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.

Current Issues in Tourism 2011, iFirst article, 1–16

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