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Are there economic benefits from marine protected areas?
An analysis of scuba diver expenditure

Melville Saayman1* and Andrea Saayman2

Received: 03/04/2017 Accepted: 25/11/2017

 

1Tourism Research in Economic Environs and Society (TREES), North-West University, Private Bag X6001,
Potchefstroom 2520, South Africa. Tel: +27 (0)18 299 1810, Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
2School of Economics, North-West University, Private Bag X6001, Potchefstroom 2520, South Africa. Tel: +27  (0)18 299 1443, Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
*Corresponding author

  

Abstract

In 1998, the Italian authorities declared the marine area around the Peninsula of Portofino, Liguria, a Marine Protected Area (MPA) covering 13 km of coastline on the north-western coast of Italy. Thus, many feared decreased local tourism and resultant economic loss due to limitations on activities within the MPA. The MPA has, however, led to an increase in scuba in the area. This research evaluates the importance of scuba divers as a source of tourism and income for the local economies surrounding the Portofino MPA. Research indicates that spending is a better criterion for analysis than numbers of visitors to an attraction or area. Therefore, understanding spending behaviour is important in influencing the benefits derived from scuba diving tourism. While scuba diving is a popular activity worldwide and a drawcard for many destinations, little research analysing their spending behaviour is available. This research was conducted at the Portofino MPA, Italy, where more than 700 questionnaires were completed during June/July 2016 with the assistance of eight of approximately 20 diving operators in the area. The results provide dive operators and the destination marketing organisation with information on specific market segments and insight into the spending behaviour of divers.

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Keywords: spending behaviour, Portofino, diving tourism, scuba diving


Citation: Saayman, M., and A. Saayman (2018) Are there economic benefits from marine protected areas? An analysis of scuba diver expenditure. European Journal of Tourism Research 19, pp. 23-39

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European Journal of Тourism Research