The Impacts and Sustainability of Marine Based Tourism

Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

M.S. Coastal Zone Management

Second Degree Name

M.S. Marine Biology

First Advisor

Steffen Schmidt

Second Advisor

Curtis Burney


This paper discusses the environmental, economic and social impacts of marine based tourism activities. Marine based tourism encompasses a broad field of activities, and perhaps an even more diverse impact of different ecosystems and communities. This paper explores the a range of impacts of a variety of different marine tourism based operations in environmental sensitive areas, particular attention has been placed on tourism throughout the Caribbean. The paper focuses on some more common tourist activities in coastal areas; discussing direct environmental, socio-cultural and economic impacts. Special attention is placed upon the practice of ecotourism in marine environments, the utilization of marine education, and the success and failures of the utilization of Marine Protected Areas.

Finally, the sustainability and future planning of marine tourism operations is discussed. The lack of general information in combination with the significant impacts on communities makes marine based tourism a critical subject to review in order to establish future conservation and management practices for coastal environments.

With the rising trend of marine tourists and the now common phrase of ecotourism, it is vital that coastal planners be aware of the impacts of tourism and continue to monitor and plan for future growth.

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