Developing marine ecotourism for a sustainable blue economy: a literature review
Milne S, Thorburn E, Rosin C, & Deuchar C
This literature review examines 5 key themes relating to the sustainable development of marine ecotourism for Aotearoa New Zealand.
If marine ecotourism is to contribute to healthy environments and deliver benefits to host communities, it must be managed carefully. To achieve blue economy outcomes, marine ecotourism must be viewed as integral to the overall tourism system and be factored into ecosystem-based management.
In the coming years demand for international travel will rebound from COVID-19 and there are strong calls for regenerative principles to be adopted as part of a broader reset of the tourism system: marine ecotourism clearly has a role to play in any such transition.
Policy making and governance relating to marine ecotourism in Aotearoa has languished over the past two decades, with decision making impeded by a lack of definition and limited available data. The last stock-take of operators was conducted nearly two decades ago. It is essential in the future that host communities and operators are engaged with marine ecotourism development processes and that they inform measures of what constitutes success for the sector.
The literature review informs future project outputs (e.g. definitions of marine ecotourism that work for NZ, what constitutes success in marine ecotourism in Aotearoa). The literature review highlights the limited availability of data on the sector and provides background data to inform a 2021 stock-take of activities in the sector. A review of the current governance of marine ecotourism in NZ provides a backdrop to the development of future policy recommendations that will emerge from the research.
This literature review:
- Informs latest thinking on how marine ecotourism supports a blue economy and how it links to EBM.
- Positions Aotearoa New Zealand’s marine ecotourism sector in comparison to the global picture.
- Highlights the limited availability of data on the sector, and;
- Provides existing benchmark data on the marine ecotourism sector in Aotearoa New Zealand to inform a 2021 stock-take of activities in the sector.
- Presents examples of alternative business models and regenerative principles applied to marine ecotourism.
- Reviews the current governance of marine ecotourism in Aotearoa New Zealand to provide a backdrop to the development of future policy recommendations that will emerge from the research.
- Explores the latest thinking on the opportunities and challenges relating to the development of marine ecotourism globally and in New Zealand.
Read this summary report for the main highlights to emerge from this literature review.