Hawaii's real life marine park: Interpretation and impacts of commercial marine tourism in the Hawaiian Islands

  • Wiener C
  • Needham M
  • Wilkinson P
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Abstract

The Hawaiian Islands are a popular tourism destination for over seven million travelers annually. Commercial marine tourism in Hawai'i (e.g., snorkel and dive trips, wild dolphin swims, whale watching) is a multi-million dollar industry attracting visitors from around the world. By using proper interpretation, these operators may reduce some impacts on the marine environment. This article examines marine tour excursion practices and interpretation through analysis of participant observations on 29 tour boats and semi-structured interviews with 59 tour boat employees, operators, and other experts in the Hawaiian Islands. Results show that many operators and clients participate in depreciative behaviors such as dumping food scraps, feeding fish, trampling coral, and harassing marine life. The majority of tour companies offer some form of interpretation, but overlook aspects of the environment and focus primarily on equipment use and personal safety. This article highlights the lack of environmentally oriented interpretation and explores possible links between depreciative behavior and interpretation. Research and management implications are discussed. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR] Copyright of Current Issues in Tourism is the property of Multilingual Matters and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder's express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for individual use. This abstract may be abridged. No warranty is given about the accuracy of the copy. Users should refer to the original published version of the material for the full abstract. (Copyright applies to all Abstracts.)

Author-supplied keywords

  • Commercial tourism
  • Environmental impacts
  • Interpretation
  • Marine tourism
  • Qualitative analysis

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Authors

  • Carlie S. Wiener

  • Mark D. Needham

  • Paul F. Wilkinson

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