Shark-diving tourism as a financing mechanism

Published on 21. December 2017

Shark-diving tourism as a financing mechanism for shark conservation strategies in Malaysia

Gabriel MS Vianna‚Äč, Mark G Meekan, Abbie A Rogers, Marit E Kragt, James M Alin, Johanna S Zimmerhackel

ABSTRACT:

This study estimated the economic value of the shark-diving industry in Semporna, the most popular diving destination of Malaysia, by surveying the expenditures of diving tourists and dive operators through the region. A willingness-to-pay survey was also used to estimate the potential of the industry as a financing mechanism for enforcement and management of a hypothetical shark sanctuary. The study showed that in 2012, shark-diving tourism provided direct revenues in excess of USD 9.8 million to the Semporna district. These economic benefits had a flow-on effect, generating more than USD 2 million in direct taxes to the government and USD 1.4 million in salaries to the community. A contingent valuation analysis indicated that implementation of a fee paid by divers could generate over USD 2 million for management and enforcement of a shark sanctuary each year. These findings suggest that shark diving is an important contributor to the economy of the Semporna region that could be used as a mechanism to assist financial resourcing for management and conservation strategies.

PeerJ Preprints 5:e3481v1

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