Tourism is all about relaxing, adventure and enjoying oneself, for what would be a better place than crystal blue water and sandy beaches. For better understanding of Marine Tourism there is a need to understand its various aspects including its meaning, importance, impacts to marine ecosystem and its benefits for coastal communities.
Maritime Tourism is the sector of the tourism industry that is based on tourists and visitors taking part in active and passive leisure and holidays pursuits or journeys on (or in) coastal waters, their shorelines and their immediate hinterlands. Marine leisure is a collective name for a full range of activities or pursuits that are undertaken by local people, tourists, and day visitors in these marine related localities. This tourism is generally popular in the summer season.
Typical Activities for a Marine Tourist
Diving and Snorkelling : Activity which includes immersing in towering kelp forest, view unique coral reef ecosystem and exploring sunken relics of maritime history
Boating : Tourist travel through boat enjoying senetic surroundings, wildlife and viewing opportunities
Experience Maritime Heritage : Visitors have opportunities to explore, discover and appreciate historic, cultural and archeological sites and stories that represent the connection between humans and water bodies.
Surfing :An activity where an individual uses a board to ride on the forward section, or face, of a moving wave of water, which usually carries the surfer towards the shore
Wildlife Watching : Whale watching is the practice of observing whales and dolphins and other creatures in their natural habitat. Whale watching is mostly a recreational activity, but it can also serve scientific and/or educational purposes.
Camping : Tourists can stay using a tent near the seashore and enjoy the scenic beauty of the waters.
Jet Skiing and Parasailing : These exciting activities involve riding small motorised water crafts which suit either one or two people.
Some Global Locations for Marine Tourism
Benefits from Marine Tourism
It directly and indirectly contributes to the government revenue and also helps in earning foreign exchange to the host country's economy. The tourism income reverts back to the local economy due to informal employment such as street vendors and informal guides. It also creates ample opportunities for employment in various sectors raising the standard of living of local communities. Revenue collected by visitors can be used for protection and development of marine ecosystems. Tourism provides cultural exchange developing mutual sympathy and global brotherhood.
Care and Attention to Sustainability
While marine tourism has the potential to be sustainable ways to support coastal communities but as every coin has two sides, we need to exercise caution and be mindful to have sustainable marine tourism. Few aspects for attention are discussed next.
Activities such as scuba diving and snorkelling have physical impact on coral reefs due to people standing, walking or kicking it which results in destruction of the marine ecosystem. Abundance fishing to cater the needs of growing demand leads to over exploitation of fishes.
Heavy trafficked boats lead to growth of algae which obstructs sunlight and spoil water leading the water to change its chemistry into alkaline or acidic resulting harmful effects on wildlife and humans.
People always tend to buy things from tourism spots for remembrance such as ornaments made up of shells and coral which endangers the species. Release of wastages from waterways restaurants and litter are reducing the beauty of marine life.
What next as a Marine Tourist?
Don't Litter, near the sea shore, or ANYWHERE
Respect the Oceans as a Source of Life
Buy Sustainable products
Use Reef Safe products including Sunscreens
Employ Responsible Tour & Dive Operators
Volunteer to Protect Marine Environment
So are you ready for being a responsible tourist next time and conserving our charismatic water ecosystem?
Editor Note : This is a Special Blog written by a zestful young Second Year University Student of B.Com at Tolani College of Commerce (Autonomous), Andheri, Mumbai, India who was a Knowledge Intern with #JOI for two months and is now a Guest Writer!
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