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Captain’s Blog

What Is Sustainable Tourism?

July 24, 2013

ORCA_2
Because Ocra Spirit Adventures follows the Pacific Whale Watching Association (PWWA) guidelines, we consider ourselves part of the “sustainable tourism” industry. But what does that mean? Here’s a little bit about how we are part of a sustainable tourist economy.

Basic principles

Sustainable tourism aims to minimize the environmental and cultural impacts of touristic activity. It also aims to build the local economy by employing local people rather than foreigners. The goal is to provide a positive experience for all stakeholders: locals, tourists and businesses.

Sustainable whale watching

Sustainable tourism applies to many types of tourism, but we’d like to show you how whale watching providers such as Orca Spirit Adventures use sustainability principles.

First, and most obviously, whale watching does not consume. Unlike consumptive activities like hunting, whale watching does not aim to use the animals for a specific purpose other than observation and education.

Second, whale watching helps to improve ecosystems. By encouraging an industry that thrives on healthy and abundant animals, whale watching associations put a lot of effort in preserving all levels of the whale ecosystem. For example, the PWWA often raises the issue of declining Chinook salmon levels (one of the orca’s food source) and increasing toxicity of coastal waters.

Third, whale watching increases public awareness and political pressure. The more people love and enjoy whale watching, the more they will be interested in preserving their habitats and ecosystems. Responsible whale watching actually works for whales rather than against them.

What are your thoughts about how to develop a more sustainable whale watching industry? Come for a Victoria whale watching expedition and share your thoughts, questions and ideas with our experienced guides!

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