Saturday, August 4, 2012

What do the tourists think of dolphin watching in Lovina?

I happen to be a Balinese. Yet, despite Bali being a touristic island, I always wondered why I wasn't interested in learning about tourism. Perhaps I am fed up with the hustles and bustles of tourism in Bali, particularly in south Bali. But when faced with the chaos that is Lovina, I realised that I would not be able to solve anything if I refuse to understand what tourism is. Or to that extent, what the tourists think and do, regarding the dolphin watching industry in Lovina.

So here's the second paper that I published from my PhD, discussing what the tourists think of dolphin watching in Lovina.

Mustika, P. L. K., Birtles, A., Everingham, Y. & Marsh, H. 2012, 'The human dimensions of wildlife tourism in a developing country: watching spinner dolphins at Lovina, Bali, Indonesia', Journal of Sustainable Tourism,   pp. 1-23.


The number of cetacean watching tourism operations in developing countries has doubled in the past decade. Practices are typically unregulated and not informed by research, especially research into the human dimensions of the tourist experience. Dolphin watching tourism at Lovina, Bali, started in the late 1980s when local fishers formed self-regulating cooperatives. Up to 180 dedicated operators use small fishing vessels to carry passengers to watch dolphins close to shore. Most tourists come from western countries, although the industry also attracts Asian visitors. Most visitors are tertiary-educated. Tourist satisfaction ranges from low to medium. While there was no significant difference between the average satisfaction of western and Asian tourists, the associated variables were different. The satisfaction of western tourists was associated with encounter management, preferred number of boats and the number of dolphins seen. Encounter management was the only variable associated with the satisfaction of Asian tourists. Satisfaction was positively associated with willingness to recommend the tour: western respondents who felt neutral to very comfortable with their dolphin encounters were more likely to promote the tour. Better understanding of the tourist experience is crucial in designing sustainable marine wildlife tourism in developing countries; such research appears to be rare.

Pic: the tourists and beach vendors in Lovina. I will always be grateful for their help!

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