The tourism industry is a double edged sword for sea turtle conservation. While many people enjoy watching or interacting with sea turtles, these sightseeing activities may have unintended consequences to the turtles. On one hand, tourism could be excellent for public outreach, educating tourists about how they could help protect sea turtles; and on the other hand, tourism could also damage the turtle's natural habitat or behavior. Thus, the impact of tourism on sea turtle populations can either be positive, negative, or somewhere in between.
Tourism companies often do not have full access to the latest findings from sea turtle conservation research, so the tourists are shielded from learning about the daily challenges faced by both people and sea turtles. By involving visitors in some of our research findings, sharing our passions and educating them about conserving sea turtle populations, we not only enrich the tourism experience, but also expand the knowledge and awareness of tour guides who could become good partners for conservation. In order for tourism to have an overall positive effect for sea turtle conservation, it is important to have a thorough understanding of how sea turtle tourism can be sustainable and eco friendly. Please review the research below as we work together to save sea turtles through an Eco Tourism Program that meets the global standards for sustainable travel and tourism.
- Chao (2017) Resident and visitor perceptions of island tourism: green sea turtle ecotourism in Penghu Archipelago, Taiwan.
- Whaling (2017) How Tos for Turtle Tourism: A Review of Sea Turtle Tourism, its Impacts, and Guidelines to Inform Stakeholders in Martinique.
- Stewart (2016) Effects of “Swim with the Turtles” Tourist Attractions on Green Sea Turtle Health in Barbados, West Indies.
- Hayes (2016) Impacts of recreational diving on hawksbill sea turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) behaviour in a marine protected area.
- Pegas (2013) For love or for money? Investigating the impact of an ecotourism programme on local residents’ assigned values towards sea turtles.
- Nahill (2012) Best Practices for Sea Turtle Conservation Tourism.
- Meletis (2010) Tourists and Turtles: Searching for a Balance in Tortuguero, Costa Rica.
- Pegas (2010) Ecotourism and Sea Turtle Harvesting in a Fishing Village of Bahia, Brazil.
- Landry (2010) ‘‘Turtle watching’’ conservation guidelines: green turtle (Chelonia mydas) tourism in nearshore coastal environments.
- Campbell (2006) What Makes Them Pay? Values of Volunteer Tourists Working for Sea Turtle Conservation.
- Tisdell (2003) Does Ecotourism Contribute to Sea Turtle Conservation? Is the Flagship Status of Turtles Advantageous?
- Pearson (2002) Ecotourism for the survival of sea turtles and other wildlife.