Eco tourism, marine turtle, economic impact, turtle walk, archie carr national wildlife refuge
Marine turtles have historically contributed to economic activity through consumptive harvest for food, tools, and decorative objects. Only recently have they begun to benefit humans economically through non-consumptive roles, primarily as a focal point of educational eco-tourism. In recent years, the annual number of turtle walks conducted around the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge (ACNWR) has risen. This expansion contributed to a statistically significant increase in attendance from 2,162 in 2001 to 3,047 participants in 2014. I examined the regional economic impacts of marine turtle eco-tourism around the ACNWR using social surveys and an economic impact analysis tool. IMPLAN, an input-output modeling package, has been used in tourism industries around the U.S. since 1992, but this study is the first to use this tool to evaluate the holistic economic effects of marine turtle-based eco-tourism within a selected region. During the 2014 turtle walk season (June through July), surveys were distributed at six different turtle walk locations within Brevard and Indian River Counties, Florida, along the central Florida Atlantic coast. Adults attending the turtle walks (n=2,274) were given time before the educational presentation began to complete a one-page survey. Approximately 93% of turtle walk participants completed surveys. Due to market interactions within this two-county region, turtle walks contributed a minimum of three new jobs and a conservative estimate of almost $250,000 (USD) to the local economy during the two-month turtle walk season. Using financial comparisons and economic impact tools, like IMPLAN, can improve our understanding of the many roles, especially non-consumptive uses, sea turtles have in our communities. This information can be useful in resource management and conservation-based decision making.
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Master of Science (M.S.)
College of Sciences
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Dissertations, Academic -- Sciences; Sciences -- Dissertations, Academic
Cope, Kendra, "A Socio-Economic Assessment of Marine Turtle Eco-tourism" (2015). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 1360.