Tourism and Conservation of Sea Turtles: An Australian Case Study
Reports on turtle-based tourism at Mon Repos in southern Queensland, pointing out that tourism can have either positive or negative effects ecotourism depending on the way it is conducted or developed. However, turtle-based tourism at Mon Repos satisfies the conditions for ecotourism, and in fact has positive consequences for the conservation of marine turtles. Ecotourism based on the turtle rookery at Mon Repos is managed by the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service and associated with Mon Repos Conservation Park and the abutting Woongarra Marine Park. The evolution of turtle conservation at Mon Repos is outlined, and the nature of a survey of turtle-watching visitors, conducted by the authors, is outlined. Some information is provided on the characteristics of respondents and about the type of information which led them to visit Mon Repos. The ex post willingness of respondents to pay for their turtle experience is estimated along with their considerable consumers’ surplus and this is magnified to take account of all visitors. The significant local (regional) economic impact of turtle-based ecotourism at Mon Repos is also estimated, as well as the educational and conservation impact on visitors of their turtle experience at Mon Repos. It is found that the turtle-based ecotourism facility at Mon Repos is very effective in its educational and conservational impact on visitors, and in fostering social, economic and political support for the conservation of marine turtles.
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