Projects per year
Shark-diving tourism is a fast-growing industry that provides socio-economic benefits to local communities. This study estimated the economic contribution of the shark-diving tourism in the Maldives by using surveys with dive tourists and dive operators. Direct business revenue from shark divers was estimated to be US$14.4 million. Revenues to local businesses associated with travel expenses of shark divers were estimated to be US$51.4 million. Further economic benefits from shark-diving occurred in form of annual business tax revenues of US$7.2 million and annual salaries to employees working in the diving industry of US$4.1 million. These values were compared with the business revenues from shark-diving in the Maldives in 1992 to assess how the shark-diving industry has changed over time. The results of this study indicate that the business revenues of this industry have almost doubled (when inflation adjusted) over the last 24 years confirming its economic growth and importance for the Maldives. Effective management of shark dive operations is crucial for maintaining the value and sustainability of this tourism industry to improve ongoing conservation efforts for shark populations.