From catching to watching: Moving towards quality assurance of whale/dolphin watching tourism in Taiwan

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36 Citations (Scopus)


Taiwan has shifted from harvesting whales and dolphins to protecting all cetacean species since 1990. Whales and dolphins have become major tourist attractions. With an eye on foreseeable future growth and increasing concerns about environmental impact, service delivery, and educational efficacy, the government seeks to achieve the overall quality assurance of whale/dolphin watching tourism by introducing an ecolabelling program. The aim of this study is to examine this program by analyzing its impact on tour operators and visitors. A survey method was used to assess the impact. The results showed that the program is having a positive impact on operators by seeking environmental sustainability and has brought about educational benefits for visitors, including: site-based knowledge, awareness of marine conservation and reinforcing intentions to perform environmentally responsible behaviors. However, money cost is a major factor discouraging tour operator's participation, even though ecolabels help to construct an image of responsibility. With potential educational benefits for visitors in mind, the study highlights the need for increasing public awareness of the program, expanding marketing of ecolabelled products, and providing economic incentives for tour operators to engage in ecolabelling.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10-17
Number of pages8
JournalMarine Policy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Jan

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aquatic Science
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Law


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