• Report

Marine and coastal ecotourism - national and regional picture (part 2): Operator survey and interviews

This report provides baseline information about Aotearoa’s marine and coastal ecotourism (MCET) sector, and sector aspirations for the future. It draws on: a nationwide survey of marine and coastal ecotourism operators (93 responses) listed on the MCET database developed in part 1; and 28 business interviews in mid-2021. Authors: Milne S, Thorburn E, Wikitera K, Deuchar C, Histen, S (December 2021)

View the report


This report provides insights:

  • From operators on what MCET means to them – moving towards developing a values-based definition of MCET that works for Aotearoa
  • Into Aotearoa New Zealand MCET operator characteristics – size and scale
  • Into business challenges and opportunities, current and future
  • Into operator perspectives on the development of sustainable MCET in New Zealand
Key findings
  • MCET is a values-based low impact sector – many operators actively pursue low impact business models.
  • Education is an imperative for MCET. Most operators are closely linked to schools.
  • A definition of MCET that works for Aotearoa is needed to better reflect the role of mātauranga Māori and the mahi that goes on to support te Taiao including marine and coastal conservation and restoration activities.
  • Indigenous values and mātauranga Māori have a strong role to play in planning and management of MCET.
  • MCET is a diverse sector and has been heavily impacted by COVID-19. 
  • The sector is relatively fragmented. Enabling and supporting collaborations between operators and among wider stakeholders involved in coastal and marine governance can strengthen the sector.
  • There is a need for improved MCET-specific planning and management and for operators to be brought into decision-making processes.
  • Sustainable development of MCET is reliant on strong marine protection and many operators play an active role in initiatives that support conservation. Some operators are actively involved in marine and coastal research.
  • There are opportunities for a more coherent, joined-up and better resourced policy and regulatory environment.
Baseline report, part 1

Part 1 (published November 2021) provides information on the size and activity profile of the sector, and a contact list to help users further develop coastal and marine ecotourism networks.

Combined, the two reports provide comprehensive national baseline data of the marine and coastal ecotourism sector to inform decision-making, policy development and future planning, monitoring and evaluation

Next step: case studies

The national scale findings presented in parts 1 and 2 have informed locally/regionally focused case study selection in the North and South Islands – allowing the identification of where marine ecotourism is linked to wider ecosystem-based management blue economy settings.

  • Marine ecotourism baseline part 2 - Operator survey and interviews

    3.4 MB | Adobe Acrobat PDF file