Whale watching in Sri Lanka: perceptions of sustainability

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Publication details

Buultjens, J, Ratnayke, I & Gnanapala, A 2016, 'Whale watching in Sri Lanka: perceptions of sustainability', Tourism Management Perspectives, vol. 18, pp. 125-133.

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Whale watching creates an economic value for whales beyond consumption and therefore assists in the conservation of the species. However sustainable management is needed to avoid deleterious impacts on the whales and the industry. This paper uses a range of qualitative methods to examine the characteristics, management and perceived sustainability of the relatively newly established whale watching industry in Sri Lanka. It is clear that the laissez faire development of the industry has resulted in some poor conservation outcomes for the whales as well as variable tourist experiences. The Sri Lankan government has introduced legislated regulations aimed at managing the industry however it must ensure adequate human and financial resources are provided to ensure the effective implementation of the regulations and therefore the sustainability of the industry.