Healthy ecosystems are critical to long term and short term development in marine tourism, experts said.
World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) International Global Shark Program Leader Andy Cornish made this point at the recently concluded (PATA) Forum 2015 in Legazpi City from Nov 25 to 27.
Cornish, among other speakers, tackled how marine tourism could create a powerful economic incentive for conservation but could also lead to detrimental impacts if improperly managed.
In his presentation, he highlighted how shark and ray-focused tourism is a “rapidly growing industry” with at least 375 well-established shark tourism operators in 83 locations spanning 29 countries.
International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN Southeast Asia Group) Deputy Petch Manopawitr for his part mentioned that many in-water activities were a part of marine and coastal tourism.
“Tourism, as a whole, is the most international trade item, with reef tourism becoming an increasingly large component,” Manopawitr said.